I’d like to be able to say that I don’t have to have a ton of bricks drop on my head in order to make me to sit up and pay attention. Regrettably, this is not always true.
The suggestion to visit Sedona, Arizona kept popping into my life—an online advertisement for a cooking class, an unsolicited Trip Advisor review, an email about a wellness retreat located in Sedona, an art class offered at the Sedona Art Center. With my characteristic brand of single mindedness, I managed to ignore them all. Then, in mid August, I had the world’s shortest dream. Three words: Go to Sedona. Having unsuccessfully tried the subtle approach, the universe got right to the point. And it worked. I booked the trip the very next day.
I made my very first trip to Sedona in November. When I told friends about my plans, those who had been before became both very enthusiastic and uncharacteristically inarticulate. “Oh. Sedona,” they would nod sagely. “It’s just..the red rock…so spiritual..you turn the corner and then..it’s... you’re going to love it.”
Well, I did love it. Having now been there, I understand that it does, to some degree, defy description. I can use words like majestic, magical, magnetic, ever changing, encompassing, enfolding, renewing and timeless, but what does that really tell you? Like many exceptional places and moments, Sedona is something that you simply have to experience for yourself.
One of the things that I learned from my time as a museum curator is that, sometimes, there simply is no substitute for the real thing. You can talk about it, sing about it, paint it, photograph it, write about it, pontificate, et al. Nonetheless, in order to really understand a place, to absorb it in your heart and in your bones, you have to experience it for yourself. I felt that way in the Sistine Chapel, atop the Arc de Triomphe, at the top of the world in the Atlas Mountains and in the coral canyons of Hawaii. And I experienced the same sensation in Sedona.
I’m still thinking about and processing my time in that golden place, and I expect I’ll continue to do so for a while. Is it showing up in my artwork? Definitely. While dwelling happily in the land of palm trees and dolphins, I find my paintbrush turning to Cathedral Rock and Oak Creek Canyon. Will I go back again? I can’t wait.
What places call to you and inspire you? And what have you learned there that you choose to carry with you and make a part of your life?