Monday, August 18, 2014
Returning tomorrow to Flagstaff, then leaving almost immediately for this beautiful place. There may be original photos here again … someday soon! 
Vintage postcard from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery. 

Returning tomorrow to Flagstaff, then leaving almost immediately for this beautiful place. There may be original photos here again … someday soon! 

Vintage postcard from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery

Sunday, August 10, 2014
I’m back east for the next ten days. Tumblr posts will resume on my return to Flagstaff. 

I’m back east for the next ten days. Tumblr posts will resume on my return to Flagstaff. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

I recently posted photo sets of petrographs at the Honanki Heritage Site in Yavapai County, Arizona, and noted in my caption that some of the rock art had been defaced by visitors to the site.

A commenter chided me for being too polite, suggesting that I should have called the perpetrators of the damage vandals. My erstwhile editor added, “Over the last two decades, children have been raised and schooled to have no responsibility and to receive no disappointment. They have not learned empathy and what you are seeing now is the result!

The plain fact is, almost no ancestral American Indian sites are untouched. Most of the archaeological and rock art sites I visit show devastating signs of looting by artifact hunters, or defacement by visitors intent on leaving “I was here” graffiti on ancient rock paintings or carvings.

But another fact that becomes unmistakably clear when visiting Indian heritage sites is that the modern destruction is not confined to any particular generation or age group. It is fatuous to suggest that the damage is the work of irresponsible young people, from a failure of training or discipline. Some of the worst  damage I see is from a discredited Indiana Jones style of unscientific archaeology - little more than treasure hunting - that was practiced (and abandoned) decades ago. Much of the worst graffiti is from visitors of my own generation, or even from visitors from the 19th century. 

In a perverse way, some of the oldest graffiti at heritage sites becomes historically significant. As these photos illustrate, graffiti from the 1870s at the Montezuma Well cliff dwellings have become part of the historical context of the place, as disturbing as it might be by contemporary standards for preserving antiquities.

I don’t condone the damage, of course. It results from a disregard of culture; it arises from ignorance, or greed, or even racial animus. It is insensitive, disrespectful, unappreciative. It is despicable.

But I also refuse to condemn the current generation or hold them particularly responsible for the sad state of our archaeological treasures in the southwest. I actually suspect that young people are more culturally attuned than my own boomer cohort. I’m saddened that my post prompted the slander.

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) gathering at a fountain’s edge to drink. At the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona.

Please click any photo in the set for full views.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Rufous hummingbirds feeding (Selasphorus rufus).

At The Arboretum at Flagstaff, in northern Arizona. Please click any photo in the set for full views.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Honanki Petrographs, Set No. 2.

Please click any photo in the set for full views.

Some of the petrographs here have been shamefully defaced by modern visitors to the site, but many are so well preserved they still show the imprints of the artisans’ fingers in the paint. 

Honanki Petrographs, Set No. 1.

Please click any photo for enlarged views.

These were taken at the Honanki Heritage Site, Coconino National Forest, in Yavapai County, Arizona. About 200 Sinaguan people occupied the cliff dwellings here between 1100 and 1300 A.D. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014
Koi Series, No. 3.
Please click photo for full view.

Koi Series, No. 3.

Please click photo for full view.

Koi Series, No. 1.
Please click to enlarge.
Photos in this set were taken at the Arboretum at Flagstaff, in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Koi Series, No. 1.

Please click to enlarge.

Photos in this set were taken at the Arboretum at Flagstaff, in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Unidentified mushrooms growing in an aspen bole scar. On the Inner Basin Trail, San Francisco Peaks, Arizona.

Unidentified mushrooms growing in an aspen bole scar. On the Inner Basin Trail, San Francisco Peaks, Arizona.