By Beatrice Fulton Keeber

Sedona—endless skies, timeless red rock beauty, ruins that speak eloquently of the long history of living-striving-loving people among the red rocks, their rock-art messages in ancient gathering places—not understood but deeply felt, and the small-town-friendly ethic of so many Sedonans of today—all of these are Sedona to me.

Coming to Sedona for many years with my husband, escaping Michigan winters, we savored all those things that together, for us, formed the “heart” of Sedona. Eventually, I had to return to Sedona alone, sore in heart and spirit.

All by myself one day at Palatki, drinking in the feelings I detected in the pictographs, wondering about their messages, I felt a crowd of people surrounding me. Turning in surprise to see the tourists who had come up the trail so quietly, I found I was still alone. But I was embraced by warmth, acceptance, friendship, love. A hand held mine—but there was no one there. I gave myself over to being part of something I could not understand—accepted, loved.

The rocks and pictographs spoke again to me of time—of which I am such a momentary participant, of beauty—which endures forever in obvious and hidden places, of human history—the enduring story of people long ago, today and tomorrow, of we, and me—a small part of that parade. I was touched by . . . something! . . . in a way that could only be felt, not described. I think it was love and friendship, received and given, both timeless and immediate. I was complete again, no longer the left-over half of a broken pair, but myself—a part of this world, this universe, this continuum—a part of All.

At the University of Life, the curriculum contains many courses, the most important being Love. It’s the one course I think we MUST pass to graduate. In Sedona, I found a rich mother-lode of that treasure, in the sky, the history clinging to the rocks and ruins, the whole flavor of Sedona and its people, our history, and my future—of many yesterdays and today and tomorrow. All I needed for my homework. Whole again, with Sedona in my heart, l believe I’ll pass that course in time to make it to my graduation with honors.

About the Author
Born an only child in Buffalo, New York (about the time of Noah), it was in college that I met my life-long love, also an “only.” Although I had pursued studies designed to fit me for foreign service, we wanted to build a family so our children could experience the kind of family life we had not. Five children assuredly provided me with a very different sort of education! When the children were grown, I enjoyed and published books about a form of art embroidery, which led to teaching tours and book signings across the U.S. Since my husband’s business took him overseas, I still had my share of foreign travel with him. In retirement, we explored the U.S., but never found any spot on earth we liked better than Sedona, where our son had chosen to live. My husband, a decorated World War II veteran, almost never spoke of the war—he only faced forward. Although I lost him after almost 60 years of marriage, I am following his forward-looking example, building a good new life. Having recently purchased a vacation home in the Verde Valley, I am blessed with the beautiful, spacious views of this exceptional place all winter long. The product of superannuated ancestors, I count on hanging around long enough to enjoy a whole lot more wonderful Arizona winters and more time for writing. My first book in the memoir genre will soon be out: Warm Memories OF Cold Spring: A Mid-Twentieth Century Love Story. It deals with that era’s customs, experiences and values, such as a mortgage given on the strength of a handshake, and other currently difficult-to-believe recollections from that time.