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Natural beauty in an unnatural environment

Posted on 2015.07.25 at 09:40
I'm beginning to think there's no place in Sedona that doesn't have its charms.

I'm at the recycling center. I came here because, yes, I'm the kind of hair-shirt environmentalist nutball who accumulates empty containers in the car until I can find a place to recycle them. I've also got a couple of containers I picked up from the side of the road. You see, before my myofascial release appointment at Therapy on the Rocks, I was walking along the strip of tourist traps that is the main drag in Uptown Sedona and, on impulse, I went into one of the New Age shops. This one, like most of them, is heavy on the minerals, mostly raw or tumbled crystals from wherever in the world they're currently being found. Among them, however, I saw this.

That's right. It's the ordinary red rock this valley is made of, the kind that rolls into the road in the falling rock zones, that you can just pick up off the ground. Somebody picked up a few that were more or less round, and now this store is selling them for eight to ten dollars apiece. They probably sell pretty well, too, to overly citified visitors who think picking rocks up off the ground is yucky, as if that isn't where they all came from.

So after the appointment, I noticed that Therapy on the Rocks is across the road from one of those falling rock zones, a high red cliff with vertical cracks, some of which had small shrubs growing out of them. And, yes, there were plenty of fragments lying at the base, in a suitable range of sizes. Only thing is, there was some trash there, too, as there generally is beside busy roads, and I got to feeling like, if I was going to take some of those red rock fragments, I really ought to clean up a little, do some giving as well as taking. So I ended up carrying away some trash, including two recyclables: a Monster energy drink can and a beer bottle from a brand ironically (or perhaps inevitably) called Red's. The passenger side footwell was pretty full already, so my next stop was the recycling center.

It's on a side street in West Sedona, across from the DPS impoundment yard. Not the kind of neighborhood where you'd expect to see anything pretty, but in the ditch along the edge of the parking lot there are some trees. There's a lone ponderosa pine which, being lone, still has all its branches. Pines in forests generally lose their lower branches because the crowding shades them, but this one has live branches almost to the ground. Its needles, dropped over the years, have provided a handsome mulch. There are two aspens, a big one and a little one, some random low shrubbery and a bush that is mostly green but seems to have a few leaves in the red-to-yellow range... No, wait. That's a small peach tree. I kid you not. It's a peach tree and those non-green bits aren't discolored leaves. They're fruit.

They're not quite ripe or I'd have harvested. This is the only instance of urban edible landscaping on public property that I've seen here, and I strongly suspect that it wasn't intentional. Someone just ate a peach and threw away the pit and it grew. What it shows is that this land is just naturally inclined to manifest beauty and pleasure, even when humans are being thoughtless.

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