Pacific and Pennekamp (A Tale of Two Oceans): #atozchallenge, Day 18

Have you ever seen an ocean? I know that for some of you, who live on islands, boats, or coastlines, the idea of not having seen one might seem as alien as a landlocked desert or outer space – but I’m an American, and America is one of those places that sprawls out, as the old song says, “from sea to shining sea.” And there happens to be a lot of land between those seas.

I’m from the Northeast, New York State, specifically – but New York’s coastline surrounds New York City and Long Island. The rest of the state, including Saratoga County, where I grew up, and where we live now, is inland. We’ve got rivers, lakes, streams, springs, and ponds in abundance- but no ocean in sight.

I first saw the Pacific Ocean when I was 28 years. I still remember that first day of driving along the Coastal Highway with my new spouse, the vistas unrolling, and the first time of many that he stopped so that we could play with the waves, comb the beach for shells, or just watch. Florence became a special place for us; our little getaway spot was Honeyman State Park, where we would truck camp in Gus, and play in the surf and the dunes all day, eat smoked salmon and raw oysters on the half shell, and watch the dog play, or just connect.

 

Sand and Surf Still Life. Photo by Shan Jeniah Burton, February 2015, from the dunes near Florence South Jetty.

We took the kids to Florence, and the Pacific, this February. We made the strenuous climb up over the dunes, and then the kids were way out ahead of us, learning the waves of a new ocean, so we found some comfy driftwood logs and sat to watch them in an echo of the way we used to watch the Bunko-dog. We found some shells, and a whole sand dollar, and Annalise made a driftwood fort. I found two bubble wands discarded on the empty beach, and the kids had fun adding bubbles to the ocean. Then we walked to the South Jetty, stopping to create art in the sand. We saw cormorants and watched the crashing of the waves on both sides of the rock barrier as we walked to the end of the maintained trail. We watched some young people trying to get two four wheel drive vehicles unstuck from the sand; they’d misjudged their vehicles’ capacity. Later, we drove up along the coast to Newport, admiring the sunset over the water…and speaking of water…

Sand and Surf SIbs. Photo by Shan Jeniah Burton, near Florence Oregon – South Jetty Beach, February, 2015.

 

I was SCUBA certified at John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo, Florida. I thought I was ready; we’d been snorkeling in Biscayne Bay, after all – and I’d passed all my written exams and completed my pool work –

But the ocean isn’t a swimming pool.

As luck would have it, my Open Water Certification dives (a series of four dives that assess the skills needed to operate SCUBA gear, dive in a safe manner, and deal with emergency situations that might arise) was scheduled for days when the water was very choppy. The swells on the surface were strong, and the current high. As more luck would have it, this child of a naval family, who once, as a toddler, had a boat named after her, tends toward seasickness (or maybe that was the saltwater I swallowed in during the free dive, when I forgot that it was a snorkel tube, and not a SCUBA air regulator, that I had in my mouth – durned nerves!).

Angelfish and Coral at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, August 1980. Courtesy the Dale M. McDonald Collection, State Library and Archives of Florida, via Flickr. No known copyright restrictions.

At any rate, one dive required us to take off our buoyancy control devices (the gear vests divers wear, which are also flotation devices), and put them on again within one minute, at surface. The problem was that the chop of the waves made it impossible for any of us to do this without letting go of the guide rope connected to the boat, so we ended up completing a complicated maneuver in churning water – with one hand!

But, eventually, it was time to descend to the floor of the ocean, at about 30 feet depth, and do the underwater tests. It was a different reality down there – calm and rich in coral, fish, and even a large barracuda and a larger statue of Jesus – the Christ of the Abyss. Those tests went much more quickly, and then we were free to explore- and I was lucky enough that spouses were allowed on the dives, so my Accomplice was there exploring with me.

Christ of the Abyss and Diver, circa 1985. Photo courtesy Florida Division of Tourism, via Flickr. No known copyright restrictions.

 

This post is part of the #atozchallenge. For more persuasive, pernicious, or potent “P” posts, click the banner.

So, have you seen an ocean? Traveled on one? Played in the surf, or surfed the waves? Immersed yourself in the world that lies beneath, unseen from above? Gotten seasick? Tell us all about it in the box below!

 

 

 

“ A Piece of Peace”: A Kifo Island Chronicles Story for SoCS

Merrily down the Stream of Consciousness I go!

 This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: piece/peace. I made use of both, several times, and they provided me a symbol and a theme for a very intense scene.

This is the final SoCS story from my April #CampNaNoWriMo project: Transitions, Volume #1 of my Kifo Island Chronicles series-in-progress. It’s unedited except for typos, with more repetition and less clarity than it will eventually have. This bit is from Scene 19, from the viewpoint of Terrance Acosta, a jealous husband whose destructive impulses didn’t turn out the way he’d hoped…

Disclaimer:

This scene has triggers for infidelity and self-harm, and a PG-13 rating for language, suggestiveness, and innuendo. Proceed with due caution.

You’re me, Barry – and she’s you. You’re no better than me. You’re garbage, too.”

Exuberance nearly carried him out the door of the woman-child’s shop. He manged to get off the parting shot, using all of his remaining breath, and the energy born of his ire, and Barry’s rejection. To see him sharing breakfast with the very lovely and so very young Corinne – the way he’d pulled out her chair, bowed over her hand, played the courtly gentleman lover with her –

Except he wasn’t playing. He was a courtly gentleman. Once, only weeks ago, he’d been Terrance’s gentleman, always there, making him better.

You OK, sugah?”

No. Take me home, get me wasted, and fuck me to death, lover. Do it for real, and I’ll leave you everything I’ve got left that isn’t his.”

Oh, Sugah….you don’t mean that.”

The hell I don’t.” He leaned on her; let her greater size and strength support him as she took him to the golf cart and got him settled.

If that’s what you want. First, though – I’ve got something for you -” there was a shrill but somehow chiming sound in the distance, coming nearer .“Oh, hell. Sugah, you want the medicos?”

Terrance shook his head. No. Exuberance sprang around the back of the cart and into the driver’s seat, and Terrance leaned back and let her take him wherever she wanted. He only wanted to be left to die in peace – okay, that wasn’t true, either. What he really wanted was to just go to pieces – to break into smaller and smaller shards and fragments – like the pieces of the bell he’d smashed, when he first knew what was building between Barry and Sweet Young Corinne. Like the pieces shattered on the floor, once they’d been forcefully evicted from the cart he’d grabbed, the same way he’d grabbed Barry, that morning the sparks had ignited. Only, today, he’d used his hooker’s strength to create chaos and destruction – but it hadn’t done any good.

Barry was still gone. Barry, who was better than him, who made him more than garbage – or let him believe that he was.

Terrance opened his eyes when the cart stopped. “Home sweet home, sugah. But before I take you inside -” she leaned over him, her cartoonish, swollen breasts nearly in his face. “Reach in, sugah- I got you a souvenir.”

A part of him didn’t want to – but he was garbage, after all – nothing but garbage. He let her guide his hand – his arms were heavy and tired, and he was even tireder of games – with her, or anyone else.

His fingers connected with something hard and smooth; he followed its curving shape, which seemed to fit the swell of flesh beneath, to a sharp edge that pressed into his skin, almost puncturing him. He pulled it out and stared –

It was a pottery shard. A piece of what he’d ruined, wanted to ruin – good now only for throwing away.

Exuberance got out, and crunched along the path, the sound echoing, sounding like colorful bits of dried and glazed clay underfoot – like something broken past any hope of repairing…

Terrance wanted peace, suddenly and desperately. Peace – from a piece of art. There was a certain serendipity in the thought. He stared at the shard of baked earth, then at the frail, thinning skin on his wrists…

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Shards. This image was the inspiration for this scene, and others, in this novel. Photo by Shan Jeniah Burton, Creswell Coffee Company, Creswell, OR February 2015.

What will Terrance do with the pottery shard? How did he get it? Does he have any chance at all of winning Barry back?

Well…

I’ve almost finished the draft, so I’ll soon know the answers…as for you – you may have to wait a while!

Enjoy stream-of consciousness writing? Come play – there’s just a few simple rules. See you next week, for another live-streaming look into the lovely chaos in my mind! =)

Get more SoCS right here!

Old Faithful and Oregon: #atozchallenge, Day 17

Today, I’m going to do something a little different. Rather than a lot of stories, I thought I’d instead share some images and impressions of two places I dearly love – The Old Faithful Inn, and Oregon, which is my Accomplice’s home state, seen again after fourteen years.

So, are you ready? I’m Shan, and I’ll be your server tonight…

Waitressing at the Old Faithful Inn isn’t for just anyone. At the time I served there, this 300+ seat dining room with the cavernous ceiling was, at the height of its season, the fifth busiest restaurant in the world. It is a huge dining room, and the back of the New House – the section added in  1922, behind the massive fireplace, was a considerable hike away from the kitchen. Carrying a loaded tray on my shoulder up the main aisle was risky – it was directly aligned with the balcony above, from which guests would take flash shots at random intervals. That was always more interesting when there was a tour – many guests taking flash shots, one after another…blind waittressing is not a sport for the faint-hearted!

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Original OFI dining room. Frank J. Haynes postcard #166; no date. Photo by Yellowstone National Park, via Flickr. Creative Commons license.

The Bear Pit Bar is adjacent to the Old House (the original dining room, circa 1903-4) separated by the most amazing etched glass panels I’ve ever seen. They’re based on woodburned panels that originally hung in the restaurant, but were moved to the Pony Express, the little fast food shop that used to be around the corner in the Inn (or OFI, in local parlance). And thinking of the panels reminds me of the day a gentleman came after closing time, and I directed him to the Pony Express to grab a sandwich, and only when he was gone did a coworker tell me that he was a very well-known Hollywood actor who shall not be named here, since he was traveling alone and clearly preferred to remain as anonymous as he could.

Remember those cavernous ceilings I mentioned? The OFI was often host to guests of the flying or scurrying variety – I still remember the day I heard a busser who seemed to lack a volume control boom out across the dining room, “Actually, ma’am, that’s a bat!” Not really the kind of thing you want to hear at dinner….

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OFI dining room, July 2013. Photo by Jim Peaco, courtesy Yellowstone National Park, via Flickr. Creative Commons license.

And now, let’s hop from the northwest corner of Wyoming, over Idaho, and over to the Coastal and Willamette Valley areas of Central Oregon. Our favorite places changed, and remained the same, in the fourteen years we were away. The woods at my father-in-law’s house were lusher, but we got our coffee at the same kiosk we did back then, -and were even recognized! Hello, Espresso 58 of Pleasant Hill, Oregon, hometown of author Ken Kesey!

The people we love have grown older, and those who were children then have children of their own, now – and we took our own children to some of the places we loved – the covered bridge in Lowell, the tree I posed by au naturel, the sand dunes where we once made love while hummingbirds darted like flying gemtones in the trees above (we didn’t tell them that story; it would be gross to them!), and the ocean roared in the distance; and the jetties at Florence, and the coast road all the way up to Newport (or was it Waldport?) We took the kids to Elijah Bristow State Park, and coffee shops and diners, pizza places and trampoline parks, to OMSI and the Oregon Zoo, to the Dexter Market and the Fifth Street Market and to play laser tag. We visited old friends and made new – Gwen and Jenna, and your lovely families, I’m looking at you, cross country…

The Coast, near Florence. Photo by Shan Jeniah Burton.

And we reached a decision. We all need more, much more, of that in our lives. We need green places, and access to the ocean, and, in the winter, snow. We need things blooming in February and knee high ferns and enormous trees, and driftwood forts. We need family and friends and that indefinably mellower vibe of the western states.

So – we’re moving. Four out of four human Burtons are gradually gearing up to become transcontinental transplants, to uproot our New York life, and take it to the Left Coast. We’re hoping to do this within two years, which means we can start slowly, doing things like decluttering, so that we take only what we need, love, and usel home repairs and beautification; dreaming; brainstorming; and planning.

It’s a big and scary step…but also exciting, and energizing.

This post is part of the #atozchallenge. If you’d like more optimistic or opinionated “O” posts, open the link by clicking the banner.

How about you? Have you visited the OFI? Contemplated any major change of venue? Have you ever moved a great distance from home? With others, or alone? I’ll be looking for ideas, input, insight, and general moral support over the next phases of the process. Feel free to pass on your nuggets of wisdom in the box below… I’ll be deeply grateful for any memories, help, handholding, or whatever. =)

The Jetty offers a new angle! Photo by Shan Jeniah Burton, South Jetty, Florence, Oregon.

Mindful Monday ~ Deciding to make it a good day

shanjeniah:

So very much depends on the attitude we bring to any situation! #mindfumonday #makingitagoodday!

Originally posted on Just Fooling Around With Bee:

Lately I have been thinking a lot about attitude and how our way of looking at the world makes a difference in how our life goes.

Remember I wrote about the monster in me?

Since I wrote this post I have kept a close eye on my thinking patterns and what I expect from the day ahead. The negative thoughts pop up all the time and my feelings go with them: The more I think that people are against me the more my fear goes up. On the other hand though if I realise that I think people are against me and I take a conscious decision not to buy into that fear it goes away and I get on much better with my day.

Not quite sure if that makes sense. Maybe I try an example. I hate working Monday mornings as I wrote before. For a long time…

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Nine Mile Pond: #atozchallenge, Day 16

Ever have a really bad day?  How about one you could easily have prevented, if you’d only known how? One that might have been glorious, if you’d made other choices?

On Day 1, waaay back at A, I wrote about two of my most interesting alligator encounters, including the time my Accomplice and I hit one with a canoe, because we mistook it for a piece of driftwood.

Today, you get to hear about our first time canoeing on Nine Mile Pond, and the lesson learned along the way.

Okay. You’ll need your life vest for this journey. All set? Then set your paddle to the water, stroking in a “J” pattern (there’s the alphabet again!), and finding a rhythm with your companion in the back of the canoe –

Which turns out to be a lot trickier, and maybe even impossible, if you happen to be having an extremely unpleasant and passionate argument with that person.

And more so if you happen to be the stalking-off type, but you’re paddling on a swampy, alligator-laden pond.

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Canoeing (not arguing!)  Nine Mile Pond; Photo by EvergladesNPS, via Flickr. Creative Commons license.

 

Getting off a verbal punch that packs a wallop is very hard to do when you need to be facing forward, so you keep twisting around in the little boat, which makes your neck ache because you were in a car accident a few years earlier, and suffered whiplash, so your neck doesn’t like being twisted that way, and, before long, you’ve got a tight, aching neck trying to support an achier head and a brain on fire with angry retorts…

Rhythm? Are you kidding me? That went over the side the second voices were raised – or maybe even sooner. For sure, what you are now is two people each trying to go their own way in an eight foot long piece of aluminum, in the swamp – the swamp that, remember, is full of alligators, and possible also snakes and other predatory creatures – and most definitely mosquitoes – remember those little critters from “M”? You’ve heard about people getting lost in the swamps, and never found, and cell phones – if they’ve been invented, at this point, you’ve never actually seen one, so it doesn’t matter.

Yup, you’re lost. You’ve got a printed map, (no Google Maps, because it didn’t exist yet!) but, surprise, surprise, you don’t agree at all on how to interpret it, and thoughts of being stuck forever in this wilderness of mangroves and unseen threats circle in your head, getting all tangled up with the stabbing words you use to slash at your companion, your spouse, because you KNOW you’re right – and he isn’t, and you need to prove it to him more than you need to be safe, or enjoy the beauty all around you…

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Mangrove at Nine Mile Pond. Photo by EvergladesNPS via Flickr. Creative Commons license.

Years later, when you’re recounting this story for a blog post, it’ll seem ridiculous. You’ll shake your head at how silly it was to fight so bitterly, and so ineffectively, and to spoil what might have been an amazing exploration with a bitter dispute over whether you would adopt a child (not a specific child, mind you – a theoretical one, off in the future somewhen).

You know now that there are better way to settle issues you don’t agree on. And, you’re both on the other side of three births – with two healthy children, and the reality that the one between lived his entire twelve-day life in the NICU, never crying, never well…

The reality of the two big kids who fill your life, and the one who lives forever in your soul, will make that long-ago fight seem like an incredible waste. So much anger, then, and so much wasted time and opportunity for connection, and working together toward a solution. You’ll know it wasn’t by far the only time you wasted, and not even close to the only bitter dispute over the smallest of details – details that triggered one or both of you, springing open some booby trap set earlier in life, when you didn’t even know each other yet.

You’ll realize that marriage can be like that swamp – especially when it’s new, and when neither of you know the path to take to resolve conflict peaceably. Especially when so many of the dangers are well camouflaged, seeming to appear out of nowhere – like an alligator where you thought there was only driftwood. You see how often you wandered around, paddling disharmoniously, lost, because you were so certain that You Were Right that you couldn’t even allow the possibility that there might be no right and no wrong – only two people with their own desires and ideas and preconceptions.

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Harmony we didn’t have, on that trip…Photo by EvergladesNPS, via Flickr. Creative Commons license.

And you’ll breath a huge sight of relief that you made it out of the swamp – of Nine Mile Pond, and the morass of interpersonal relationships – alive, and maybe a little wiser.

This post has been part of the #atozchallenge. You can find numerous other nifty “N” posts by clicking the banner.

How do you argue with your loved ones? Have you had any epic conflicts, with your partner, or someone else? Have you learned from these? Laughed or cried over them? If you’ve got stories or insights to share, drop ‘m below!

And, as a special treat, here’s what we might have experienced, if we hadn’t been fighting, instead!  Thankfully, we didn’t miss out on this, the second time around!

 

 

Really, Really Spring: April 15, 2015

ROWing along through April!

So, can you believe it?!

What, you ask?

Well, here in upstate New York, it’s spring at last! Yup. And I’ve got the proof, right here in this post.

Witness Exhibit A:

Crocuses! Real, live crocuses! In my yard! =D

Yes, indeedy. The most intrepid of flowers, the crocus, is blooming, at the edge of my yard, slightly shaded by the huge pines – which leads to another proof of spring. During the early part of the winter, we lost a branch large enough to be a tree itself. Now that the snow is melted, my son and I tried to drag it (uh, NOT going to happen; it’ll need to be cut where it lays). In the process, I got a healthy coating of pine pitch – yup, the sap’s running!

In the wetlands of ponds, I’ve seen several red-winged blackbirds. Some people watch for robins, but I’ve seen them weeks before the winter weather ended. The blackbirds, though, don’t show up until spring shoves in.

So, now that we’re ten days into the round, with seventy to go, how am I doing on my goals?

I‘m still mostly concentrated on my two April challenges: the #atozchallenge, and CampNaNoWriMo. I’m definitely writing a shorter novel rather than a novella; I’ve made my peace with that. The story is flowing, and surprising me – the part I love the most!

Within the next week or two, I’ll be much closer to finishing both of these challenges; and then the majority of my time, for the rest of the month, will be split between editing existing works, and preparing for May and June challenges.

For clarification, here are my Round Two  and overarching 2015 goals.

Color-coding key:

  • Goal attained (for the session, or the round) = blue with overstrike.
  • Goal in progress (for the session or the round) = green.
  • Goal-in-waiting (for the round) = red.

Writing:

Complete April CampNaNo 60K goal with Transitions: Kifo Island Chronicles #1  completed; and Generations: KIC #2 plotted and in progress.

  • Transitions: Drafting: Scene 17/24 in progress; 35,811/~ 50K words. Act Three has commenced =D Next up, Scenes 17-24.
  • Generations: Plotting: Scene Summaries (and the plotting phase) complete. Set up Scrivener file . Cheat Sheet 4/24 Complete and added to Scrivener outline. Next up, finish hometending for scenes 5/24.
  • Rough plot the 31 Story a Day May Trip and T’Pol stories. Use prompts if available. I’ve had a thought or two about this; may change this goal a bit on Sunday.

Editing:

  • Complete revisions for “Slow Jazz Awakening” and submit.

Blogging:

Complete ROW80 Sponsor Post and all sponsor visits on time.

  • Done and done.

Complete the A-Z Challenge with all posts on time.

  • Posted/scheduled through 4/14 (L); Drafted through 4/17 (O). Next up, Draft P-Z; schedule M-Z.
  • Clean up/update blog sidebar.

Hometending:

Continue with hometending. At least 5 days weekly; include decluttering projects.

  • 2/5 days. Moderate day Sunday; very mellow Monday; no hometending on Tuesday.

Lifetending:

Continue one-on-one time with all beloveds; online and in-person writerly socialization; time with friends.

Expand and extend in ways that feel natural and challenging without forcing.

  • I’m opening up like the crocuses in the yard. More details on the way…eventually…

Selftending:

This entire category fell by the wayside last week to allow for “Otherstending”. Now that we’re feeling better, as a family, I intend to give these, and myself, some much-needed attention.

Continue increasing physical activity and exercise.

  • Attempt #1 at yardtending; more furniture moving; a mellow workout; and a one mile walk.
  • Resume either t’ai chi or yoga with at least one class attended.

Attend Y or do strenuous activity twice weekly.

  • 2 /2: Attempted to move a very large branch that wasn’t structurally stable enough to last the winter. The only thing that moved was the pine pitch I got all over my hand! A one mile walk, because I parked at the grocery store and walked to and from the Y.

Meditate/Intentions journal twice weekly.

  • 1 /2: Reviewed journal’s current entry, and updated. Five minutes of breathing meditation; getting more natural, with less thought-clutter.

What are your favorite sure signs of spring? Are they different where you live now than when you were growing up? What are your favorite spring activities? Leave a note, an image, a link, or a comment in the little box, and share your springtime with us!

My next update on will be posted Sunday. Till then, let’s ROW along the ROW80 Blog Hop River, or, if you’re suitably inspired, come join in! You’ve got nothing to lose, and only your goals to attain! The icon is your portal!

Click to enter the Portal -or to join in!

 

And, before I go, and especially for Tammy Rizzo, who spoke longingly of missing them – I offer 45 seconds of another sure sign of spring, here – peeper frogs, accompanied by bullfrogs, and what I think are ducks…no real visual, but the sound….that’s a whole symphony of spring!

Mosquitoes, Mooney Falls (and the Makings of a Marriage): #atozchallenge, Day 15

Ah, mosquitoes! Donch’a just love those little parasites?

Yeah, right.

Me too.

But when I think of mosquitoes, the next though in my head is always, “Everglades.” I’ve been in other places where the insects were vigorous…but, in the wetlands in the southern tip of Florida, they were epic, even in the winter season (We lived and worked there from November-March, which, in my homes state, is WINTER).

They sold a souvenir bumper sticker in Everglades National Park. It had a red cross with a mosquito hovering over it. It said simply, “I Gave Blood at Everglades Blood Bank”. The humorous twist on that is that we actually did donate blood while we were there – to the Red Cross, and the mosquitoes. Mosquito suits were so endemic, they became almost as invisible as the air.

The first day we were there, we learned the “Flamingo Flush”. There was no way to enter your car without bringing in a few hitchhikers – and, since they sought out new blood, more than a few, at first. The technique was to close all windows in the sweltering humidity, then, in concert, open all the doors once the car was traveling at 55 mph, counting on the wind force to flush out the pests.

I once witnessed a guest coming into the restaurant with a line of mosquitoes on his shoulder, just out of his reach. We found all the holes in our screens very quickly, since we didn’t have air conditioning in our trailer. These were serious bloodhunters – they would bite through knuckles and elbows. Once, I saw one trying to drill through my fingernail – which makes sense if you know that some of these little ladies are tough enough to bite alligators!

But enough about that – I’m getting itchy.

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One tough little lady. Photo: NPS, courtesy EvergladesNPS, via Flickr. Creative Commons license.

Instead, let’s talk about Mooney Falls, which was another type of adventure altogether.

For Day 9, I wrote about our hike to Havasu Falls. I didn’t mention then that there is a chain of waterfalls on Havasupai land, and that our ultimate target was Mooney Falls, a shortish hike from our campgrounds at the base of Havasu. Mooney Falls boasts large and varying blue-green pools, complete with whirlpools and grottoes that are perfect for swimming, side canyons that are just right for exploring, and evident history – an old mining ladder, and the name –

Oh, yes. There’s a history to the name “Mooney Falls”. It was a name the Supai people gave to the falls after a white man named Mooney attempted to descend the cliff of the falls – and fell to his death. Yup, Mooney Falls – a great joke!

Only, descending isn’t much easier today. The trail to the base of the falls culminates in a set of footholds cut into the rock, and heavy chains fastened in with railroad spikes.

No, I’m NOT kidding….see?

I’m also not kidding when I say that I am terrified nearly to the point of petrification by the thought of falling. And yet my Accomplice, who was my boyfriend way back then, said that I needed to see what was at the bottom, that it was too beautiful to miss.

I trusted him – which was a good thing, since I could not look down. He went ahead of me, and physically placed my feet in the footholds. I don’t know that I would have made it without him.

He was right, too. It was an experience not to be missed. We swam, I dove, and got caught in a whirlpool – he rescued me. He found a secluded little grotto with ferns growing from an overhang above, and, holding me in waist deep water, he proposed to me. We went into a side canyon, and found an inner chamber obscured by a huge boulder, and we made love there, embraced by the rocky earth.

The first people we told our news to were strangers we met on the trail back to Havasu. We kept the secret for a few days, beyond telling those in our hiking group. It was fun having the secret, a little like a hidden treasure.

I’ve always teased that my Accomplice picked the perfect time and place for his spontaneous proposal – he had me trapped and at his mercy. I was going to have to get back up that cliff, after all… =D

This post has been part of the #atozchallenge. For more mythical, magical, mysterious “M” posts – and a myriad of other options – click the banner.

If you’re married to someone, how did your engagement begin? Who proposed to whom, and how? Do you have a favorite adventure story, with a mate or without? And what about mosquitoes? Are you heading into or out of their prime hunting season.? Got a cool bug story to share (I do, but you have to wait til we get to Z to hear it!)? No need to deal with chains and footholds – just leave a comment in the little box!