In the Rockies

In the Rockies
Butler Gulch

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Leaving --- Savoring -- Following the Path

Two versions of the path, but somehow the same. Look down to the left in the Blue Lake mountain photo. Is that a tiny path? And what would it take to get there? On the right, is the light on a path? Or merely where the sun is shining? Neither path is clear, much like the paths in our lives, even when we think we know what's ahead.

Two recent and ongoing losses experienced by dear friends embody that not knowing. Yesterday I received a note from a priest friend in his 90s who recently lost his wife of more than 60 years. He said "You knew hard times and you survived and so will I." He knows survival and counts on his faith, but doesn't know what it looks like or how he will move through his days without her.

I awakened Tuesday morning to find an e-mail written about 1:45 am titled "Lynnette had a stroke tonight." Nothing had prepared for that. Recovering well from knee surgery, we had visited by phone on Sunday. She was upbeat, getting stronger and having less pain. She had no stroke markers, and her stroke was a bleed so not at all related to the knee surgery as her doctor husband first surmised. The reason--sometimes as we age the artery thinning breaks. No way to predict when or for whom that might occur. My friend is a couple of years younger than me--not old as we think of it today. They had had, as we all should, the conversation about how they would want to live -- or not -- in the event of a catastrophic stroke. Lynnette did not want to live with years of rehab, with mental and physical defects that drastically limited her lifestyle. Her husband moved immediately to implement those wishes. She was in the ER within minutes of the stroke, but he followed her wishes and denied that immediate treatment that might guarantee the years of rehab. Today she will be moved to Hospice for her few remaining days or weeks.

Since there is no way to predict what the path ahead holds, whether there are years, months or days remaining on this planet, I am struck with how often little things get in the way of savoring the moments. The path isn't clear, I complain. Why don't I know exactly why I needed to make this move at this time? I can see that I might not have had the energy a few years later, but then I might have been able to hire more help. Perhaps. Maybe not.

As I sit here in my 17th floor apartment with Nashville's tall buildings in view out my windows and a clear sky belying the stormy night that preceded this morning, I wonder. I would usually be at my son and daughter-in-laws or flying in from Colorado today. But then, were I still in Colorado when the e-mail came, would I have cancelled my holiday plans and stayed to support my friends?

Our Christmas holidays always include a birthday celebration for my younger grandson here, and those plans were changed several ways when his older brother needed to stay on his job in Florida. After a busy weekend, dinner for Mike, Margaret and friend Tiffy on Monday evening, a walk with Will on his birthday afternoon since he wasn't here in time for Monday's dinner, his birthday dinner and our family's movie outing afterward--StarWars this time (!), yesterday was open, as is today. Yesterday I grieved, walked in rain that spit and stopped and spit again, and was fortunate to have wonderful telephone visits with two friends who walked so many mountain (emotional and spiritual as well as physical) paths with me. One was with me last summer on the hike to and past Blue Lake where the mountain photo was taken, the other with us on earlier hikes to that lake. This year, one is in her lovely mountain townhouse alone, the other walking California's beaches and I am in this still sometimes strange high-rise apartment in Nashville! A few years ago, we wouldn't have predicted this physical separation.

The St. John's hiking group, pictured above, heading down from the Butler Gulch meadow, one of my favorite spots!

I've written a lot about getting settled, finding paths, and being here. I've written less about leaving behind my beloved mountains, friends and what will likely always be my church and heart home. It hasn't been easy, in fact, harder than I expected when I knew it wouldn't be easy.

Yes, that's my RMNP water bottle on a bridge in Radnor Lake Nature Preserve in Nashville!

The most encouraging happening, other than the dedication of Mike and Margaret to getting together with me regularly, was connecting with a small group of like-minded folks with whom I shared a retreat at the Sister of Loretto Abbey the 2nd week of this month. I will write more about that soon. Finding a few soul friends to go with a few long-timers is encouraging. Below is the sunrise over a lake at the Abbey.

Most important is looking each day for small things for which to be grateful, seeing wonder in faces and spaces, savoring each bite of food, appreciating each step, each kind voice, loving with a bigger heart, realizing that all is a gift. Have a blessed Christmas season.

                                                            Peace and love

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Morning Musings

                                                                 Center Hill Lake

On a visit to the Appalachian Crafts Center, a drive of a little over an hour from Nashville, we passed the Center Hill Lake, and could look through the mostly leafless trees behind the center and see a small portion of this 64-mile long lake or hike to its banks. Constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1948 for power production and flood control, the craft center and three state parks are near its banks.

I had forgotten how quickly one reaches the Cumberland Mountains driving east on Interstate 40, such a beautiful area even with the bare trees. Balancing time in the nearby hills and mountains with my city life is a challenge. There are, however, lovely streets, most with sidewalks, on which to take exercise walks without getting in my car. The lovely tree below brightened yesterday morning's walk through a nearby residential areas.

For me that balancing challenge can be likened to time with my inner life as well as the outer one. It's easy to fill days and evenings with doing, hard to refrain from volunteering just to be interacting with others. Today, with Pilates at noon and an African drum and dance group's program at nearby Blair School of Music (at Vanderbilt) enticing me this evening, I will have no more than passing words with a Pilates classmate or a fellow audience member this evening. I would likely feel less alone staying in my apartment, but not only is Pilates good for my body, I am refreshed by the energy at the downtown Y and heartened by smiles of welcome from the staff. This evening's
Sankofa group will no doubt bring a different energy to enjoy. (Two friends--one new and one old--I asked to attend declined.)

After an interesting coffee/tea conversation with the Cathedral Dean yesterday, during which I learned that there are ministries that need new leadership or ideas of new ones that need fleshing out, I came home wondering if I might become involved in something different than centering or healing prayer. But healing is my call, my head reported. A bit later, that voice that insists on being heard said "there are many ways to work for healing."

"Wait," I said to the Dean. "Not today. I'm recovering from being needed and want to let that settle for a bit longer." We will meet again after the first of the year and sort through possible ministry work there.

I am finding acceptance that Nashville will be my home for the remainder of my years. I haven't yet found a need to assume that this apartment will also see the end of my days.

These musings call for stillness, being with what is, as I end this post.

                                                         On the Vanderbilt Campus

Monday, November 16, 2015

Remembering Another Time Brings Focus to Now

  This photo is of what I called my "pink rocks" in the lumpy ridge formation easily seen from Devil's Gulch Road in Estes Park, which is where I accessed trails back in the fall and winter of 1999. I'm reminded that I used those rocks as a point of strength on days when I was alone and lonely, missing friends in Tennessee (though mostly Chattanooga friends since that had been my home for the previous ten years).

Especially before I found the Estes Park Centering Prayer group and for the first months I centered with them, I often saw or spoke with no one I knew. I sought community in the small Episcopal Church and one woman became a friend. I was in a much more vulnerable place, and the rector made certain that I knew that he couldn't be of much help. It wasn't the church, but the centering prayer group that provided the spiritual sustenance I needed.

I'm recalling those days this morning as I'm allowing grief--more than expected--to swell from inside as I miss the mountains, friends, and St. John's, my home church in Boulder. I also remember that St. John's didn't become my home church immediately upon stepping foot inside the building as it has for some. It helps put my feelings in perspective.

I realized over the weekend that my flurry of activity--rushing from one talk or concert to another, while providing intellectual stimulation and nourishment for my soul, and reading the pile of reserved books that became available near the same time, had kept my feelings of loneliness and loss at bay. Since years of experience has shown that feeling the pain is the way through to the other side, and my coffee date this afternoon was cancelled, I'm allowing those feeling to hold sway.

Gratitude, my daily practice, is supported by remembering those other times, feeling gratitude for the good in the midst of pain. Mike and Margaret are coming for dinner tomorrow night. It's a quick in and out when they come since week nights are best for them, but always so good to have them here.

For years on Sundays, 3 of 4 wasn't unusual, I had duties either in the service or afterward. There were certainly mornings when it seemed heavy, but most times I felt blessed to be part of the St. John's community serving in that way. As I recall other churches, I've generally found ways to serve before I felt at home. I don't know that this will happen here, and I'm not ready yet. My postponed coffee this afternoon was to include a conversation about the possibility of joining the healing prayer ministry at the Cathedral. Since today I have no clarity about calls, it's good not to have that conversation.

                                                            Radnor Lake's Cove Trail

I have plans for a walk, though it may turn into coffee/tea since rain is predicted, with a possible spiritual friend, also a newcomer to the Cathedral, on Wednesday afternoon and look forward to getting to know her. An acquaintance from Boulder days, who moved to the suburbs with her husband this summer, and I have a long-planned coffee date on Thursday, halfway between our homes. She's often an "it's wonderful" person so I'll look for my happy hat before I leave for that drive.

My Saturday guided hike was cancelled, and I joined a group of six who were also headed for that hike at another trail. I trailed them--literally--for the 4.5 miles on the steepest up and down trail in our local parks in this area. I'm definitely out of shape, but was able to catch up when they stopped for water or to let everyone gather. Our time was slightly over an hour and one half!!! While that equates about 20 minutes per mile and my preferred faster time is 25 minutes per mile, I would need to hike at that pace for 7 - 10 + miles in order to do some of the meet-up hikes at state parks away from here with the younger hikers, and I would love to hike several of those trails. I'm hoping to meet some older folks who are hikers at the Tennessee Trails Monthly Meeting I plan to attend next week.

We continue to have some color on the trees in the city. The photo below is from my window toward the Vanderbilt Campus. The misty rain has moved in while I was writing. If it doesn't get harder, I'll walk in the neighborhood or on campus this afternoon. The color really pops in this weather.

I continue to have much gratitude for my place here and always for my health. A Chattanooga friend has been told that even if the next round of chemo is effective, she can expect more tumors--and she is about fifteen years younger. I hold gratitude and loss together on this fall day.

Peace and blessings

Monday, November 9, 2015

Exploring the Nashville/Tennessee Parks

This beautiful waterfall, one of several in the Rock Island State Park, is about the same driving time away from my home in central Nashville as from my home in Colorado to the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge trailheads in RMNP. It's farther, of course, as the narrow roads are only for the last ten or so miles. I went there a week ago Sunday with a meet-up group that, because of forecasted rain, dwindled from 16 to 9 people. A light misty rain began only as we were close to the end of our last trail.

I learned that many of the exciting and beautiful Tennessee hikes in parks and natural areas explore canyons and gulches packed with slippery wet rocks and several creek crossings. My boots held up well on this one! Behind and around me below are the rocks at the bottom of this riverbed canyon. It doesn't show the cliff ledges on the left that we had to scramble up and walk on to get there and back again! Three, sometimes four of the much younger folks, hiked back with me, partly to enjoy the scenery, and on the skinny ledges, to be sure I wasn't left in the lurch! While they began to see that I didn't need the assistance they offered (but took it a couple of times), I was sometimes slower. We all laughed about the man who was the supposed leader. If he hadn't been wearing a red shirt, we wouldn't have seen him through the trees far ahead.

 Closer to home, as I mentioned in an earlier post, Radnor Lake provides an array of trails, some for an easy stroll and others with more up and down. The trail I've enjoyed most was developed after I left the area. The deer and I were alone on much of that trail the first couple of times I took it.

The leaves are falling, opening patches to see the vistas in the distance while other spots are still too dense to see through the trees. Next Saturday I'm scheduled for a hike that has some bushwacking in an area of the Warner Parks where one can only go with a naturalist. There should be views of the hills around and through that part of the park. A newer area will open in the spring though the steeper trails may be only naturalist led.

I've found a local-only walker friend who may become a hiker as far as our parks go, good company but nothing that will keep me in shape so far, and am still looking for a hiking group with older folks who do some of the interesting and challenging trails away that I shouldn't do alone. With shorter daylight and the driving time to do several of those hikes, I understand the need for a faster pace than I might be happy with--or able to do comfortably. Spring will be my time for those hikes. And I understand that in March-April-May, there are many wildflowers too!

I'm joining the Tennessee Trails Association and plan to drive to REI in Brentwood (near Mike and Margaret's) for their November meeting with the hope that will connect me with some hikers nearer my speed. And tomorrow, when the rain is supposed to dissipate and the clouds roll away, I'll continue hiking nearby. I do remember that I didn't find my long-time hiking companions in Estes Park immediately upon moving there. Patience, patience, patience.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Nashville -- Settled!!! (Somewhat!)

The sun made a splash over the city this morning as I awoke early to make it up one flight to the laundry room by 6:30, the reputed opening time.  A woman had already loaded five machine and a sixth was out of order.  Fortunately two remained.  Just what I needed.  I discovered that this woman does laundry for others and was doing a month's laundry for a client!  And I expected to be there alone.  The machines do have a delicate setting and the dryers adjust heating too although I was coached on which ones dry the best, which was not my issue this morning.  I walked back to 17, my floor, and made coffee while the laundry swished through its cycles.

Red in the morning, sailors warning is an old saying I had forgotten while in Colorado as it didn't seem to have anything to do with the weather or rain.  Not so today.  I took the photo below as it rained briefly this morning.  After lunch I continued with my plan to walk two blocks to the credit union to see if I could get access to the funds I deposited last week (success!) and on to Fido's, the coffee and lunch spot where I'm currently seated as it rains and rains.  My internet and TV service are scheduled for connection a week from today.  

This evening's plans, to attend Shakespeare in the Park and see Henry V looks as if it is a plan to be scuttled!  Perhaps Sunday evening's performance will be dryer.  

This week I've taken a couple of morning breaks to walk/hike.  One morning I scoped out the newly opened Harpeth Greenway, walking about five miles--some of it lovely, some a way to get around an area.  Most of the Greenway around Nashville's perimeter has been completed.  Quite an accomplishment.  This lovely butterfly seemed oblivious to my camera.

For unknown reasons, I cannot upload the butterfly.  Sorry.

Another morning I headed to my favorite park, Radnor Lake.  While this one is closer, the traffic was such that it also took about 30 minutes to get there, not quite so long returning.  I knew the city traffic was back in this area, but it is heavier than expected with the various university's students and the city residents.

At Radnor Lake I felt at home in a way that I hadn't experienced since returning to this city where my children grew up and where I worked both at Vanderbilt Medical School and the TN Department of Economic and Community Development.  It was a feeling that any photo could not capture--the feel of the air, the smells, the soft path and farther into the park, the rocky climb to Ganier Ridge.  The deer and fawn with spots still obvious (and not visible in my photos) almost posed.

I am looking forward to writing in my new spots, the table writing and art section, about ready for use.

The rain has quieted though still coming down, but think I should head back, hoping for enough time of respite from the blowing rain to hurry two blocks to my new home.

More soon!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Israel Experience -- Bedouins, the Negev, Mitzpe Ramon Crater and Eilat

     An amazing trip, our experiences ran into each other.  Walking down the Jerusalem sidewalk to the Tower of David Museum for the Night Spectacular Light Show was much like walking in any city.  The Spectacular, using 3-D technology with a name that means "deceiving the eye," projected onto the Tower's walks, walls and turrets the history--Greek, Roman, Crusader, Ottoman--with life-like soldiers on horses, with armor, people hiding, and then breaking into song.  Our guide said that she had been a member of the children's choir whose voices were used in the drama.  Walking back through the old city, I stopped with other women in a couple of shops--art and skin care, different only in that Dead Sea skin care products were featured and prayer shawls and Jewish art was on display.

     We were reminded by Dena, our guide, and anyone else who had an opportunity that Israel wasn't an aggressor, but was protecting herself.  Their neighbors didn't want them to exist so self-protection was essential.  She told of two narrow escapes, barely missing buses that were blown to bits a few blocks later.  No buses had been bombed since the wall was built.  She was sorry that some Palestinians had difficulties, but Israel needed the wall for protection.  With her experiences, it wasn't hard to understand her point of view.  I mentioned the second guide in the tunnel and his more extreme view.  Our driver was the most even in his attitude.  Members of the family who hosted the Shabbat dinner who had or were serving in the military were proud of their service, but didn't speak so stridently of Israel's choices of protection.  The two speakers at Independence Hall were not only proud of their country and its heritage, but vehement about Israel's need for protection and the prejudice of the international press.  Our Druze host was proud that their Arabic-speaking young people serve in the Israeli military in greater numbers than most other groups.  I was struck by the pride of Israeli Military service.  Our former Californian guide at the Bio Bee Kibbutz was proud of her military service too.  It echoed the feelings of those Americans who fought in our World Wars I and II--fighting as righteous warriors against evil aggressors.    

     I visited with my massage therapist in the Mizpe Ha-Yamim Hotel.  She, too, expressed vexation with the news media.  From Detroit, she was an Israeli citizen but visited relatives in the US.  She was more sympathetic with the difficulties of the Palestinians but like others, felt that what Israel was doing was self-preservation.

      The bus drove us from one interesting spot to another, often stopping only long enough for a vignette.  There are a few more stops that merit mention.  Before our arrival at the International Dance Village, I wondered why it was on our agenda--and learned, after expressing my delight at the inspiring dance performance we saw, that it was one of the several stops on our agenda that had been a guess--this a lucky one.  First we observed a class session where some of the movements we saw in performance were taught.  Instead of eating lunch in their cafeteria, Simone and I walked through the village, enjoying the park-like spaces and walking down through an area of cottages where it appeared that students lived.  We were told that the dancers come from all over the world.

     Had we needed to hire a driver to take us to the Sea of Galilee, we might have missed one of the most inspiring of our stops--the Rebecca Sieff Hospital in Safed, also known as the Ziv Hospital, treating patients from the Upper Galilee and the northern Golan.  The tour agenda said "Emergency Medical Services in Times of War."  The folks above were sitting in the hospital's courtyard.  One of few Israeli hospitals that treats patients from other nearby countries--Syria in this case, the area served is multi-cultural, and the hospital staff reflects that diversity.  The Christian social worker who does intake spoke to us.  He acknowledged that talking to Syrian young men who were likely soldiers after atrocities focused on Christians was hard at first, but their mission was medical care.  The Syrians are brought to the border by their soldiers and transferred to the hospital by Israeli military ambulances.  Some they treat are children and women, but the majority are young men of fighting age from the rebel armies.  An Israeli surgeon, when questioned about whether the caring medical treatment received changed any minds and hearts, told of a young girl--nine or so years old, who after thanking him for her care, told him she would be back to kill him.  He also told of a mother who managed to get her daughter back for a follow-up visit and was very grateful.  He said the Syrians were taught to hate Israelis from birth and receiving good medical care at their hands didn't necessarily make a difference. (Recently I read of a Druze mob forcing a military ambulance to stop, attacking the Syrian occupants, after a Druze community in nearby Syria had been attacked by rebel fighters.)  The hospital staff wanted their stories told, as they, like other Israelis we heard or met, believe the international press is prejudiced against them.  Hospital lobby below:

     The town of Safed was was filled with artists and art galleries of all varieties.  We also heard a lecture/sales pitch from a Kabbalah rabbi (whom those of Jewish faith thought was bunk!).  In the ancient city part of Safed, we visited a prison museum--a foreboding place.

     Leaving Tel Aviv, after a delayed start with bus trouble, for our long ride to Eilat, we were fortunate to keep our planned stop at the Bedouin town of Lakiya.  There we learned about the weaving that the women in that village were doing to earn a little money.  They work in their homes as they aren't allowed to work outside.  Our vivacious guide was new to her task and more friendly than expected.  Others served us small cups of tea and/or coffee while we watched a demonstration of their weaving process.  We hoped that in their homes with small looms, the women wouldn't be down on their knees while weaving!



Our bus continued to have problems so we were delighted when a new bus arrived driven by our regular driver.  We still had a long drive ahead!

Our next stop was at the Mitzpe Ramon natural crater's visitors' center.  This is not a crater as we think of it but a sizable area of erosion in the desert. From the edge of the visitors' center, we had an expansive view of the desert crater--sculpture-like formations and a vast area with a tiny bit of green here and there, a view of the highway we would be taking and distant hiking trails.  We enjoyed our brief stop, moving quickly to board the bus for the rest of our drive through the desert to Eilat.

 Playing for money, he wasn't shy about asking!

I was fascinated by the desert and took many photos from the bus as we drove through.  It was unlike any desert I had seen with so little vegetation.  If I didn't say so in my Petra blog, we drove two hours through the Jordan desert to reach Petra and saw traditional Bedouin tent communities in the distance.  Our Jordanian guide said that the Bedouins are committed to educating their children so more and more, they are abandoning their nomadic ways.


Eilat is a tourist city with many huge hotels.  All our rooms had a Red Sea view.  It was for those who wished, a shopping mecca.  We arrived in time to unload suitcases and do a quick sea walk or shopping (both for some) before eating.  We were in Eilat one full day before we left for Jordan and Petra.

 My foray into snorkeling in the Red Sea wasn't the best, as the sea was rough, the life "booster" minimal, and my mask never quite fit.  The underwater photo is from the Underwater Observatory Marine Park--a delightful place.  I did see beautiful coral in the sea, but not in the comfort I experienced other times.

Petra was a fitting ending to a marvelous trip--so much to see and take in, and such a varied and fascinating country!  We flew back to Tel Aviv to spend the final afternoon and evening, with a 4 am bus to the airport.  My final afternoon wasn't one I had planned.  Simone and I agreed to go for a walk and a little shopping with a small woman doctor with more shopping energy than either of us had imagined.  We shopped at an Israeli Mall--not one known for catering to tourists.  We were certain of the customer base as our companion who wanted to do a "little" shopping bought several items for which she needed the VAT forms.  After she seriously considered a briefcase in one high-end shop, the shop borrowed forms from another store to be ready when we returned.  Our sushi lunch was at a bar-type place in the middle of the mall where we communicated by pointing and a few words.

Early the next morning we were guided through the initial process at the airport and had time for coffee and souvenir shopping and listening to a fellow tourist play the piano before heading to the controlled area to be screened for our flight home.  I was ready!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Petra, Jordan, Tel Aviv and Eliat, Israel

                              Beginning the walk through the 1200 m long, deep gorge in Petra

On the bus going out of Jerusalem, our guide gave her version of the settlements, describing what was "C" land, approximately 60% of the West Bank, and A and B lands.  (Much displacement and hardship comes in the C land as a result of Israel's control of security matters and civil matters such as zoning and building permits--a simplified explanation.)  She said this land is sparsely settled, and the Palestinians could live in Area A communities, which comprise about 18% of the land and all of the Palestinian cities.

Since I've covered Galilee, where we went from Jerusalem, I'll move on.  From Galilee, we stopped at the Baha'i Gardens in Halfa--a beautiful place.  We could only walk in a small part of the gardens as we weren't Baha'i, but viewed them from the top.
Traffic in Halfa and that leading into Tel Aviv made our travel slow.  In Tel Aviv, we checked into another luxury hotel, this one with dramatic public spaces.  The huge bathroom had only one sink and the shower was in a high tub with a small stationary shield to keep the water from the rest of the bathroom.  I was not impressed with the design.

Eating and shopping seemed to be the primary agenda for most folks in Tel Aviv.  Simone and I walked to Old Jaffa, beautiful along the sea, and found a delightful small Greek restaurant in which to dine.  It was my favorite restaurant during the trip, though the next evening's dinner with the women from Atlanta was quite enjoyable too.

Simone and I spent the next day--Israel's Independence Day--away from the group.  During the morning when most endured (or enjoyed) talks, we went to the Tel Aviv Art Museum--WONDERFUL!  Arriving shortly after opening at 10, we left as the doors were closing at 2 pm--early because of Independence Day.
We did a lot of walking--toured a number of the Bauhaus (white) buildings on foot--and arrived at Independence Hall where we were meeting the group--early.  Standing across the street and then sitting on the steps where the guards and Simone flirted, we watched Israeli's being turned away from the Hall because they closed early, knowing that our group would be going in at 4 pm.  The experience of being where Israel was declared a country could have been very moving, and it was--a bit.  It was however, an opportunity for propaganda speeches.
                                                             Independence Hall

    At the Greek restaurant in Jaffa

More happened in Tel Aviv--the birthday dinner for my benefactor and pushing through the outdoor market place.  Try, on a Friday afternoon, arranging a dinner for eleven on Friday night in a busy city, especially one where many are closed for Shabbat.  At the last minute we had a change and dined in a restaurant that was not on the tourist circuit.  Yeah!

I will write one more post--overall impressions.  In that post I will include the amazing staff at the hospital in Safed where they treat patients from across the border in Syria and the Bedouin women weavers.

Now Petra:  First we had to cross the border into Jordan--at least a two-hour ritual of going through one check point and then another--two in each country--and there were thirty-nine of us.  We then traveled by bus for another two or so hours through the desert to Petra.

     Six of our group rented horse-drawn carriages to ride to the main sight we would see--the treasury.  The rest began our walk, a guide leading with mixed results, down the narrow gorge, As-Siq, pictured above.  Below we caught our first glimpse of the treasury from As-Siq.

Petra was created and settled by the Nabataeans, ancient Arab tribes who settled in Jordan more than 2200 years ago.  They were clever and achieved a thriving kingdom that stretched to Damascus, including parts of the Sinai and Negev deserts, ruling the greater part of Arabia and controlling trade routes.  This I learned from travel books and the brochure we were given in Petra as I only faintly knew of these ruins before looking at our travel agenda.  It would have taken three or four days to do justice to these amazing ruins.  We had about three hours, and folks moved slowly, limiting our tour sites.

Here -- the treasury, the jewel of Petra, comes into view from As-Sig.  It was the tomb of a great king and perhaps was later used as a temple.  You can gauge it's height by looking at the people below.
Another view:

Most of our group walked beyond the treasury and saw more elaborate tombs of royalty.

Smaller tombs were those for the common people.

And we were supposed to climb these steps cut into the rock to the view from the High Place of Sacrifice--but most of the group ignored the pace of the guide, and again, a late lunch at a nearby restaurant was a priority.

The anesthesiologist from San Diego is in the foreground.  The folks below rode back.  I enjoyed a brisk walk back with one of the women from Atlanta as we were the last to leave the area where these later photos were taken.

  A line from a poem by Dean Burgon--a rose-red city half as old as time--is descriptive, but in no way can words or these photos begin to describe this matchless place.