Author Archive for Bishop – Page 2

Is The Lone Ranger Returning?

Give me silence, water, hope
Give me struggle, iron, volcanoes

As buzzards circled through the smoke above City Hall, a tourist from Maine mumbled to a lady of the night, “so this is what the end of the world looks like!” “Not so,” reported Josh, an expert member of the legendary, mythical Monkey Wrench Gang, “It’s just Ed. He said he come back, someday. He said he would settle for the sedate career, serene and soaring, of the humble turkey buzzard, the only known philosophizing bird.”

And what a world he’d come back too, not forgetting Sedona and Oak Creek in which he often swam along with lovely ladies. Were he return for a while, he’d learn that nuclear nut cases are still trying to mine uranium in and around Grand Canyon; robots are arising in many commercial outfits since so many people refuse to work in restaurants, saloons or most anywhere else. Read More→

New Addictions Discovered

Happiness is not a destination. It is a method of life
–Burton Hills 

Truth be told it is said that in greater Sedona people are either therapists, former therapists or thinking of going into therapy. Now arriving is a puzzling new strain of emotional emotions, so widespread that self-published books are even now being created. One need not be a therapist, however, to detect the trend. One can sense the trend almost anywhere, from the markets to the barbershops, from the dry cleaners to post offices and resorts: people have glum looks are their faces. Drivers glower at one another for no reason. Read More→

Boom in Birdy Valley

If I had to choose between airplanes or birds, I’d rather have birds
— Charles Lindbergh

So do more and more people everywhere, especially in The Verde Valley where birding has passed golf and is catching up with gardening as top pastimes. Birders, once regarded by many business interests as tree-hugging dirt worshipers are now being joined on birding adventures by those very same business interests.  With the Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival looming on April 24-27 the merging of economic interests and nature’s gifts is music to Chip Davis, Yavapai County Supervisor, who told me years ago that “If we can just understand that preserving what’s important in nature can be an economic engine. Hopefully disappearing are those two opposing groups who contend that resource conservation is the enemy of business and economic growth and visa versa.”  It is time to celebrate what birding has brought to the Verde Valley. Across the nation, business and political interests have conservation programs under the gun. Here, once odd bedfellows share the glories of nature together—both with advertisements and birding itself. Read More→

A Whiskey-Golden Time

As soon as I enter the door of a tavern, I experience oblivion of care, and a freedom from concern…there is nothing which has yet to be contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced by a good tavern.— Samuel Johnson, London, 1777

The news spread faster than a Tea Party Lie. In legendary London, and in villages nearby, 7000 pubs are being closed—forever leaving local quaffers and boozers to face a dreaded, dryer future: No local community gathering place to have a nip, hear the gossip and bet a bit on Cricket.

Longtime Sedonans know that feeling, those that remember the Wrenwood, the old Rainbow, or the Turtle. Then there was the Lemon Peel started by Dick and Peggy Olsen, a young couple from New York City located near where Biddle’s Nursery stands today; the smell of popcorn always filled the air and a mesquite fire crackled in the fireplace whatever the weather outside. Most nights around midnight, the Olsens grilled rib-eye steaks, and a local performer always closed the evening by singing “God Bless America.” One night a local celebrity was in his cups at the bar, quaffing away when a stranger wandered in and asked Dick whether he was the town drunk. “No,” he replied. “Sedona is too small to have a town drunk. So we all take turns.” Read More→


Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain.
Lily Tomlin (1939 – )

Day dies into night wrote the great Tertullian “and is everywhere buried in darkness…and yet again it revives, with its own beauty, its own dowry, the same as before, whole and unimpaired.”

Is that a fair description of Sedona?

Perhaps one day that was true –about residents as well as landscape.  But it would be irresponsibly misleading to declare that today. Day after day more and more land is being impaired by ‘dozers, more of the blessed Verde River is heading for dry sections,  and more and more newcomers who have other things to do than worry about landscape, loss of volunteerism, but detest hearing musical noises in the night which are not their own. Read More→

Neighbors and other Ironies

The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out alive.
— Robert Heinlein (1907-1988)

Now we know, with John Keats that there is no point in waiting for warm days, now comes a dose of reality as the New Year dawns. Don’t look now, gentle reader, but you, we, every Tom Dick and Harry are knee deep in irony otherwise called incongruities. Consider the principal threats to a healthy community, namely our own.

Some say it’s the tree huggers, others cite liberals or Tea party strategists, or ex- Stalinists or uninformed, vision-less mayors. Truth be known the threats are among us. They are to be seen at the post office, Judi’s and the Grape. No not tourists, not ADOT, no our neighbors; not all our neighbors, maybe less than ten who arrived here from Chicago and from Michigan where they could control the noises around them. Noises like music, chanting, school kids yelling and shouting. “Ironically we came here seeking tranquility—and we thought we’d killed the beast,” shared one former corporate panjandrum with a home near a public park known as the Posse Grounds. Now the city is still considering some sort of performance building up on the Posse Grounds. We are not going away.” Read More→

Are Political Labels Extinct?

In politics absurdity is not a handicap
— Napoleon

In his cups, Doug Rigby, an author in Sedona’s early days, before all the experts in planning and parking arrived, loved to talk. In particular, he loved to tell visitors at the Rainbow Inn saloon that planet Earth, with all its wars, tyrants, dictators, half-wit politicians, crooks and gamblers, battle-hungry generals was here for the simple reason that the Gods needed something to amuse them, so easily bored they can be, from time to time.

Indeed, with all the cutting and running nowadays in Washington where Nixon, a conservative, is now being as a attacked as a left wing liberal for having signed environmental laws; where the U.S. Congress is on the verge of cutting food stamps to the poor, while at the same time handing more benefits to corporate farmers for them not to plant—and calling themselves conservatives. Read More→

On To Fiddler’s Green

In this land the Spanish called the Northern Mystery, rumors  are fast becoming facts: climate change is a myth, a creature of the left-wing press, the proposed National Scenic Area would threaten small children and private homes while there’s plenty of water and clean air if KSB would just leave town.

Welcome to the new wisdom. It a far, far better thing to know nothing than to know how things truly are in National Forest land in and Sedona. At bottom, it doesn’t take another dance of the seven veils to unveil the ineluctable truth: Nowhere enough people love this special place enough and whatever love they do feel is often offset by dislike of one another. Read More→

Seeing is Believing

Optimism consistently outruns the water supply–Wallace Stegner

Once upon a time it so happened in Cornville, Arizona that an invisible man dropped by a dental office to make an appointment. When told by the receptionist just who was in the waiting room, the dentist snapped “I can’t see him.”

Ludicrousness aside for a moment there is more than meets the eye to that dentist’s crack. It is said in West Sedona salons that truth is the child of time. Undeniably, gentle reader, the dentist’s refusal to see, when applied around the Verde Valley, and uptown and downtown Sedona, suddenly takes shape and rises up like a mammoth ogre that dares us to stare it in the face, to stare it in its one eye. Indeed, to print the list of citizens around here that fail to see the world around them might threaten the ink supply in this scrivener’s printer.


Cut to a dazzling late summer afternoon in West Sedona, visualize a secluded rocky spot where the 36-foot high Amitabha Stupa, a sublime form of sacred Buddhist architecture, looms high seemingly able to touch billowing nimbus clouds. Gathered there were dozens of citizens celebrating the U.N.’s International Day of Peace. Walking for Peace was the theme thus many walked prayerfully around the Stupa while others worked to organize baskets of donated canned goods to be distributed through the Sedona Community Food Bank that distributed 200,000 pounds of food last year. Amidst the music and the chatter a thin middle-aged lady took the mic and proceeded to drop a surprising bomb. Back from Africa where poverty is widespread she announced that the level of poverty in this area stunned her: who knew that 35 percent of the public school students in Yavapai County were “food insecure”—meaning they are never sure where their next meal is coming from; what’s more at least 300 young people are homeless and hungry.

Gentle reader, in our area, for far more people than is realized, The American Dream remains the American myth.


Another irrefutable component in Sedona which needs to be discovered by more people is 23-year-old Sedona Recycles, a non-profit community recycling center on Shelby Drive widely is regarded beyond Sedona as the most successful one-of-a kind facility in Arizona, probably in most parts of our nation. Processing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of material annually SRI leaders are dedicated to giving every material a real chance to be recycled into something new rather than filling landfills to the brim.

Shelby Drive is not hard to find, so why don’t more people recycle? Do they not know that millions of dollars of waste containing zinc, aluminum, plastics are being buried forever a feat tantamount to burying cash whereas in mainland China, landfills are being excavated to recover precious materials. They care over there!


So fashionable has it become for citizens to mock Arizona leaders for being a backward gang of flat-earth society retrogrades. Were reliable newspapers still existing, like the sheet you are reading right now, the truth would be told: Arizona is part of growing solar deployment which saw the U.S. install 976 megawatts of solar panels in the last quarter. California led the pack with a record 521 megawatts installed. Arizona was a big part of the equation, with power plants such as Agua Caliente and Copper Mountain Solar 2 coming online. Arizona and North Carolina will combine for about 400 megawatts of solar installs in the second half of the year. Overall, installations were up 23 percent in the second quarter. Leaving California behind is a massive new solar plant near Gila Bend built by a Spanish company. When it is up and running soon it will be the largest Solar power plant of its kind in the world, so is Arizona truly so backward?

What happened to live theatre?

The moaning is growing louder among some of the more cultured cognoscenti in and around Sedona—admittedly not a large group. Indeed there has been cause for the moaning and whining given the skyrocket rents and counterproductive decisions by cultural czars now faded from memory.

But wipe away the tears!

Isn’t irony wonderful? Just when the clouds are the darkest, shafts of hopeful sun pierce through them: Red Earth Theatre is emerging among us. Wipe away the tears for the so-called good old days, thanks to four women that between them are from three different countries, speak five languages and love theatre. “We are a homeless organization thus avoiding out of control rents,” one of the women, Kate Hawkes, an Australian, explained in a small boite on the outskirts off town. “You can say we are a multicultural gang of experienced, passionate theatre aficionados from Cottonwood and Sedona traveling through the valley, offering theatre on the doorsteps of communities without real local access to a live theatre.”

What a fresh, relevant and welcome addition to Sedona, Cottonwood, Camp Verde and beyond—and so far from the hands of politicians. Soon, we shall see performances and workshops in schools, at the Old Town Center for the arts, and elsewhere, too. “Looks like we got here just in time,” mused Hawkes.

Butterflies Rivers Beauty and Books

Beauty is everlasting and dust is for a time
—Marianne Moore

Depending upon who discusses butterflies as this astounding summer winds down either they have disappeared or they are seen everywhere in Camp Verde. Next, either the Verde River is safe from developers and deranged politicians, or it may soon run dry. Finally, either beauty has become a mere commodity separate from commercial hustle and bustle or deliberations about arts and culture remain dominant in political and public discourse.

Well, not just bees are in danger butterflies are too. Take Monarch butterflies those beautiful and storied creatures that migrate south for the winter and north for the summer, just as do many humans. Shockingly, this year the number of Monarchs that took up their habitual winter quarters at a forest in Mexico fell to a two-decade low. Imagine the chagrin of Mexican wildlife authorities and tourism officials who count on the vast clouds of butterflies as a big draw. Experts blame the drought and heat of climate change, as well as farming practices that have wiped out much of the milkweed that nourishes the butterflies during their commute. Read More→