Today was our first full day here in Sedona
, and we spent the day exploring the area and orienting ourselves to our surroundings. We visited a couple of the state parks, and had some wonderful hikes. The first park that we visited was Red Rock state park, where we went on a little hike through the forest, taking in breathtaking scenery along the way. Eventually we found ourselves at a little bridge that crossed over the creek. The feeling of this place was serene, almost magical. I sat there for a while just staring at the creek as it flowed by, the gentile sound of moving water filling my ears and my soul with a relaxation I have not felt in a long while. I watched the colors reflecting on the surface of the water, dancing about with an organic beauty that Norwood put so well, “would be impossible to paint that in such a way to do it justice”.
We did sketch there for a little while. Norwood and I both chose the view from that little bridge as our vantage point. It was so wonderful to just sit there, sketching, not worrying about time or the outside stresses of my life, or anything else for that matter…just staring at the beauty in front of me, sketching in an almost meditative state. It was wonderful.
After our little adventure at Red Rock State Park, we decided to visit another one of my favorite Sedona spots: Buddha Beach. Much like our previous hike, the route to Buddha Beach follows a trail through the forest, alongside Oak Creek. Here people are actually allowed to swim in the creek. It was such a hot day, the creek looked so wonderful and relaxing and I was somewhat envious of other people who were swimming in the creek.
I did stop along the way to take off my shoes and wade around inside the creek. I didn’t last too long because I realized that most of the rocks inside the creek were quite slippery, and I was carrying a backpack which contained my iPhone and my digital camera…not exactly something I would want to slip and drop in a creek, so I made the decision to leave the creek adventure for another day. I put my shoes back on and continued down the trail to Buddha Beach.
You know that you have made it to Buddha Beach when you come upon a clearing alongside a beautiful, fairly deep swimming hole that backs up to a red rock cliff. On the other side of the creek a rope swing beckons to you, just asking you to come over and swing yourself into the icy, refreshing creek waters.
What is unique about this beach is the hundreds (sometimes thousands, depending on when you come) of stacked rocks you will find on the shores of the creek. There is a Zen practice of creating stacked rocks as a meditation, and this is what is happening here at Buddha Beach, and I imagine, this is how the beach got its name. Some of the locals also say that the Native Americans used to stack rocks here in religious ceremonies, which is why this practice is continued at this particular beach today.
Upon arrival, I made a rock stack of my own. There is something calming about creating these stacks, because so much concentration is needed to make sure the rocks are being stacked in just the right way, this is why it is such a wonderful meditative practice, because it helps you to focus on just that and not worry so much about anything else.
Norwood, of course, likes to make the most impressive stack of rocks that he can make, so he searched to find the most unusual rocks he could find, and stacked them in the most difficult way possible. I do have to admit, however, that his stack was beautiful. It looked like a sculpture.
After stacking rocks, I walked across a line of little rocks to sit on a large rock in the middle of the creek while Norwood started creating tiny little boats out of leaves and twigs. He would create the boats and then float them down the creek, each time attempting to make a boat that could survive the treacherous one-foot high waterfall.