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WQW #29: Rivers, the Lifeblood of the Desert

August 3: Water: Rivers

Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays (Photo or Writing Challenge)

“Ideas, like large rivers, never have just one source.”

– Willy Ley
Birds evenly spaced on a log over the San Luis Obispo Creek in Avila Beach, CA

This pixilated cell phone picture taken years ago is a favorite of my husband’s. What I like is that it looks like a watercolor painting more than a photograph.

Featured Bloggers for WQW #28: Sunshine Mostly

Thank you to those who linked.


This weekly writing challenge runs from Wednesday through Tuesday at noon. All you need is a quote to go with your post. Write a poem, story, or memoir. Share photos and a story or no story. Just have fun with it and let the quote or quotes lead the way.

Topics for the year (subject to change) are listed on the WQW Page. Feel free to post weekly, or drop in from time to time – All are welcome. 

Definition of River

“A river refers to a body of water that flows from a higher elevation to lower ground. Rivers also signify freedom, and free-flowing nature, so be like a river and stream past all your obstacles in life.”

For More Ideas about Rivers

Unpredictable Rivers

โ€œNow Iโ€™m content and my life is complete/I can close my eyesโ€ the calmness dissolves as the volume increases and the piano seems to chase itself, dizzying the listener.”

Ray Davies of the Kinks

My Kinky River Trip

This song reminded me of when I was an adventurous 21-year-old. A friend took me river rafting on the Sandy River in Oregon. The water was calm but my friend insisted that I put on a life jacket anyway. I scoffed as I snapped it on, thinking I didn’t need it in such a placid river.

In less than two minutes we hit our first rapids and our raft overturned with me bumping along under the raft and bouncing on the boulders at the bottom of the river. I’m not super at holding my breath for a long time, but fortunately, the rapids ended at about the same time as my oxygen and I ejected myself from the bottom of the river and emerged and pushed the boat off me.

I clung to the boat, in my soaked brown corduroy bell bottoms. Within a few minutes, both Ron and I got back inside the boat somehow and finished our trip. He never invited me to go rafting again. I never begged him to take me.

“The first river you paddle runs through the rest of your life.”

– Lynn Culbreath Noel

Other than a few kayaking trips, it was also my last paddle until Terri Webster Schrandt of Second Wind Leisure and I paddled around Watson Lake.

A much calmer ride, but I still wore a life vest, and fortunately I did not fall into that murky water. Taken by Vince with his iPhone 12 S Mini

When Is a Creek a River?

Speaking of Watson Lake, Granite Creek, which can sometimes look like a river during monsoon season, flows into Watson Lake. Prescott is high desert, so dammed creeks and rivers provide the water so desperately needed in dry seasons. Prescott lies in the Verde River Watershed, which you will see in a bit after I gripe a little about processing photos.

Granite Creek that flows into Watson Lake

As part of my WOTY – curating, there is so much to learn about photography. Today I found the beautiful watermark signatures that Lisa Coleman made for me last year. There were about 20 logos and signatures in a PDF file, which I knew how to save as a JPEG or PNG using Photoshop Elements (but none of the more sophisticated processing programs). However, I couldn’t erase the background behind the logo and save it. So I uploaded the image into Canva, used the background remover, uploaded the photograph I processed in Adobe Bridge, and merged the two.

There must be an easier way to do this. I’m going with the flow, but I think I fell out of my raft.

Rivers and Watersheds

“A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure. It offers a necessity of life that must be rationed among those who have power over it.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes
Valley Verde River was taken in 2015 with my iPhone 6 Plus

Terri’s Sunday Stills post this week is about deserts, and what could be more important to deserts than rivers?

“The Verde River Watershed is an important, life-sustaining watershed. Located in central Arizona, the 6,230-square-mile basin is one of the most beautiful and diversified watersheds in Southwestern United States. On its western edge, the watershed includes Seligman, Prescott, and portions of Scottsdale. On the eastern edge, it reaches the Flagstaff city boundaries and stretches south to Payson and beyond. Click here to view a map of the 192-mile-long watershed.

Friends of the Verde River

Long before the Verde River flowed through the United States of America a native tribe known only as the Sinagua (without water) lived in the Verde River Valley. They disappeared somewhere in the 1400s presumably because they ran out of water.

In the desert, water is treasured more than in places where rain is plentiful. The Verde River flows into the Salt River in the Phoenix area, providing much-needed water in that megalopolis.

This photo was taken during a Verde River Train trip on a 110-degree day with my iPhone 6 Plus. The Verde River is one that runs all year, unlike most rivers that gush up from nowhere during a monsoon.

Speaking of monsoons, look what happened to the rock-lined ditch a few feet from my back door.

Blooming Hills Monsoon River behind our house was taken last year with my iPhone 12s Mini.

“Time is a kind of river, an irresistible flood sweeping up men and events and carrying them headlong, one after the other, to the great sea of being.”

– Marcus Aurelius

River Music

I found so many songs about rivers that my favorites were not even included because I wanted you to hear something that was new to me because they might be unfamiliar to you, too. This song caught my ear because both girls are underwater for a very long time before they start to sing – another reminder of my rafting adventure.

โ€œCarry away my dead leaves
Let me baptize my soul with the help of your waters
Sink my pains and complains
Let the river take them, river drown them.โ€

Ibeyi, an Afro-French Cuban musical duo consisting of two young twin sisters.

โ€œRivers of Babylonโ€ was originally recorded and written by the Jamaican reggae group The Melodians, and it became even more popular after Boney M covered it in 1978.

Some of the lyrics are taken from Psalm 137 from The Bible expressing the yearnings of Jewish people during the Babylonian exile.

Moreover, in Rastafarianism, the term โ€œBabylonโ€ refers to an oppressive system, which gives the title of this song much more meaning.

This next song starts with drums that sound like African music. So gentle, like a slow-flowing river winding through trees.

WQW Flowing into Other Challenges

Saturday and Sunday have been getting away from me recently in spite of trying to do a better job of curating my time. Natalie the Explorer posts a coffee share that inspires me to share my week, only I’ve missed the last three weeks. One of the things I enjoy doing is on her post catching up on other challenges that I miss since I don’t post multiple posts each day.

Last on the Card (Unaltered) and Rammad’s Weekend Skies

Looking east to the Prescott hills

Lens Artist Photo Challenge – My Three Best Photos

One reason I took so long to write my post for Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share is that I haven’t rated many of my photos in Lightroom or Bridge. I wanted to include the Lens Artist Challenge, but out of 45,000 pictures, I hadn’t picked any favorites.

When Sarah invited us to post our three favorite posts of all time using three different genres, I spent hours sorting through mediocre photos to find something that I felt was good enough to share with you all. The Sunday midnight witching hour vanished into the thin night air bringing me no closer to meeting my goal. I plan to link this post to Natalie’s Coffee Share on Friday. Double Dipping again – Yay me!

Favorite Bridge Ove the Yarra River in Melbourne, AU

Webb Bridge over the Yarra River

During my epic trip to Australia, I followed Leanne Cole around like a puppy. Everywhere she clicked a picture, so did I borrowing her amazing eye for design. This was one of my favorites. The structure itself makes any picture easy but I liked the lighting of the sun glowing on the orange structure that you could see peeking through the labyrinth. I positioned myself to get in the middle of the curve so I could see both tunnels at the same time. Most of all, I loved the intricate design of the bridge painted in the sky against the blue and the buildings in the background

Favorite Plant, River, and Sunset Picture

Cattails at sunset along the mouth of the Klamath River near the Oregon Coast.

The lighting of the sun shining through the plants and reflecting off the water as we talked about last week in WQW’s (Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays) Sunshine post makes this picture one of my favorites.

Favorite texture picture

Bird on textured tree stump in Maui, Hawaii

What I loved about this picture are the many shades of brown and gray that twist around the holes throughout this stump. It made a perfect landing for the little bird, and he didn’t fly away he was so comfy. However, he’s so camouflaged that you can barely see him. Other textures that may be busy, but don’t compete with the large stump are the volcanic rocks on the left side and the ocean’s gentle waves on the right side. The fact that it is almost monochromatic adds to the beauty of the picture for me.

Changing Seasons

  • July was filled with vists with wonderful bloggers. Terri and Hans Schrandt spent a few days with us – not enough. Then we went to Scottsdale to meet with Jody, Janet, and Donna all Arizona bloggers.
  • I also filled my monsoon days and sleepless nights watching the telenovela, Jane the Virgin, which I adored on so many levels. Its big draws are the “magical realism” and her realistic struggles with family relationships, child-rearing, and writing.

Curation of Favorite July 2022 Photos

I apologize for all the acronyms. Most teachers and administrators use them in education to make explanations almost impossible for the public to understand, and that’s my background.

My poor sister-in-law tried to read one of my posts last week and said she didn’t understand a word. It is hard explaining to non-bloggers how important challenges are in our lives or even what they are. I bored the compression socks off my vein doctor and staff this week trying to explain what I do with my life. My doctor asked me to write him a good review on YELP instead. Since Dr. Agha saved my life, it was the least I could do.

We bloggers use the acronyms in our titles and sprinkled through our posts. We have names for people like Always Write instead of Marsha Ingrao. I hope you are not as confused as Cindy about the meaning of my posts. I’m a blogging challenge nerd.

Changing the Subject from Challenges

By the way, if you love to travel, a friend introduced me to a new app for your phone called Trusted House Sitters. The app is free, but the idea is that if you find a place you want to visit, you do have to pay a yearly fee to join the service the app provides.

The cost for the trip is transportation and food only. The catch is that you have to house and animal sit. If you love cats and dogs, it’s free lodging in a gorgeous setting. I founded houses with adorable animals in Australia, Portland, Oregon, Ventura, California, Canada, the UK, Spain, Prague, and even Panama. There wasn’t anything in Taiwan or China, though. Sorry.

IRL (In Real Life)

We are having another blogger meet-up if anyone happens to be passing through the Prescott area on September 15th. Let Janet of This That or the Other Thing, Lisa from Micro of the Macro, or I know if you are interested in meeting us for lunch.

Lunch at noon at the Cellar Creekside, September 15th Right of Highway 17 on Highway 169 going into Prescott Valley. RSVP

What About Your Experiences?

Remember if you are researching a topic, you have found a gold mine of quotes. I summarized articles, and the name or website behind the post adds the gravitas I might lack about a topic. Don’t forget that songs count as quotes, too.

Ongoing on Always Write

  • On August 9th Story Chat will present Gloria McBreen’s new story, “Backstab.”
  • Read the Story Chat Summary of July story, “Not a Proper Job” by Philip Cumberland
  • PPAC #57 – “Aliens Invade Prescott” (Photographing Public Art Challenge) is your choice of art – no theme! Two more days to link.
  • Upcoming topics for WQW
    • August 10: Water: Lakes
    • August 17: Earth: Mountains, Rocks
    • August 24: Travel/Transportation: Cars or Trucks
    • August 31: Holiday: Labor Day/Work Ethic/Dirty Jobs/or Writer’s Choice/ or YOUR WOTY Review
  • For a list of past WQW posts visit my WQW Page

95 replies »

  1. I love “When is a creek a river?” – such a philosophical rumination!
    Thank you for sharing your busy & stunning July with us at The Changing Seasons!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love that “Last on the Card” photo… And yes rivers can definitely transform the hottest of the deserts but also the most concrete of cities too. In LA there is the LA river. The channel is mostly concrete but it hasn’t stopped greenery from growing (albeit it’s like non-native).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Water is so persvasive. It soaks through concrete, too. California is basically desert or semi-desert, too. Even though LA might have been an oasis in the 1950s, it definitely is a water guzzler from places far from there. I have no idea how Lost Angeles, San Francisco and Phoenix are sustainable. The weather saves Los Angeles and SF, but Phoenix is still growing and at temperatures up to 120 in the summer, I can’t picture how it possible.


      • You brought up a good point about the coastal cities. The weather has helped. Since I don’t live near the beach, there has been many efforts to plant more trees on my street and on our yards. I have a friend who lives in Tuscon and he nicknames Phoenix “New LA.” I read on the news that Utah is going through an environmental challenge since Salt Lake City is growing but the Great Salt Lake is shrinking…

        Liked by 1 person

          • You are so responsible. I don’t do that. Usually, we take showers, but we have so little to water, I should use sink water at least.


        • That’s interesting, Julie. Since Salt Lake is salt water, I’m surprised it is shrinking. It must be from environmental reasons unless there is a desalinization plant recycling that water.


  3. I enjoyed your post this week. No post for me for WQW, Sunday Stills or Weekend Coffee Share. I just couldn’t get it done and have had some computer issues that took my time and I’m still having them. Uggh…all my doing though at least now it’s only with my photos…kind of important to bloggers though..haha. I agree with you on people not always understanding what a blog is. Mine is just hobby so sometimes I say it’s a type of journal, or I just don’t say anything at all…haha. I hope to be back next week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Take a much needed break. You earned it! Time slips away when there are computer or other technical issues. Not to mention, it’s frustrating! Have a great week. Hopefully see you next week. ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. The Verde River is so lovely, and the lush greenbelt around it looks almost magical next to the AZ desert.

    I’d love links to the other Arizona bloggers you mention, and sorry I had to miss the meetup. Sometimes work really gets in the way of my social life ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope to join you at a future one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marsha, Thank you for your weekend coffee share. Once again, you did an impressive job meeting multiple challenges with your beautiful writing and pictures. I’m glad you survived that river rafting experience and continue to enjoy water sports. How fun that you have another blogger meet-up. Have a wonderful week!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Starting at the end of your post, I so wish I lived near enough to join you for lunch next month! Also, reading what you say about non-bloggers understanding posts, I think that’s why I try to keep my challenge response posts as similar as possible to my regular ones and only rarely double dip ๐Ÿ˜

    Thanks so much for joining my LAC favourites theme, I enjoyed my experience of guest hosting and have loved seeing the responses, yours included. I really like the angle of that bridge over the Yarra shot! And in return I’m joining you for WQW this week. I hope the two quotes in my effort are enough to qualify:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sarah, you are welcome to join WQW with one quote. Even some of your research counts if you ite the source.

      I wish you could join us for lunch as well. You have so much wisdom to share about blogging and photography as well as the places you travel. The only reason I double dip is to get everyone included and to tell my story through challenge. The acronyms do throw people. My sister-in-law may have had other things that confused her. She didn’t elaborate. Your challenge got me started ranking photos. That is one aspect of curating that I had not even begun. One of the things I love about your challenges is that they teach and challenge in a deeper way photographically than mine, for example. PPAC is strictly topical without the suggestion of a topic. I haven’t taken it deeper than that. But your challenges are so helpful that I may have to study up and start doing that. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for such lovely comments about my blog. My enthusiasm for photography has led me to ‘study’ some of the so-called rules of composition but most of the time I don’t consciously bear them in mind while taking photos, they become semi-instinctive over time. Or I use them when editing, e.g. cropping to give a pleasing composition ๐Ÿ™‚

        With Friendly Friday coming to an end you will probably see fewer of those ‘instructive’ posts – I have my last one lined up for this coming week. But I guess I’ll often be conscious of that sort of thing when choosing which photos to share. And I’m always happy to give constructive feedback if that is ever useful? As to rating, the only extent to which I do that is sorting my ‘best’ photos from each trip or local outing into a labelled folder (e.g. ‘Day one best’!), deleting the duplicates and really poor shots, and tucking the bulk of them away on a separate hard drive in case I need them!

        Most of the time, however, I just want to have fun travelling, taking and sharing photos, and enjoying what everyone else has to say and show in their blogs. It’s the variety of what we all do and how we do it that makes following bloggers so interesting ๐Ÿ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

        • This is great advice. I am a photo pack rat. I don’t know what scares me about discarding stuff. I’m going through old photos right now while I’m not taking too many new ones. Having fun is what blogging is all about. If we don’t have fun, why do it?

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m with your husband Marsha… love that picture.
    Wow, that was a scary river experience. Good your here to share about it. The first river experience does run through you alright. I have one of those too.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. What a rafting experience… Thank goodness for the life jacket!

    I love all the wonderful photos this week. I thought of watercolor painting too when I saw your bird photo. The Granite Creek looks painting-like too with the reflection and the leaves. Also love your choices for LAPC and favorite curation. The bridge, the sun behind the cattails, the pineapple trio, and the sky before the monsoon are my favorites among your favorites. The camouflaging bird and the peek-a-boo bear (or dog, or other animal?) are definitely interesting stars of the photos, haha.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Marsha, I admire your ability to host and participate in so many challenges while blending them into one seamless post. Not only do you meet the challenge requirements, you also manage to share snippets of your life which helps us readers get to know more about you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Being trapped under a boat, if only for a few seconds would traumatize anyone. So glad you found your way back and tried paddle boarding with Terri.

    Love the July collection. Cattails at sunset is a standout! I see why you chose that as one of your three favorites.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have always been a pretty mild mannered person, but sometimes spontenaity gets the best of me. Usually, I learn from my mistakes, though. LOL No more river rafting! ๐Ÿ™‚ I waterskied on the Willamette River outside of Portland, Oregon as a teen also. That was a kick, but you have a little more control, and you don’t ski over rapids. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the compliment. I’ll be over to visit soon. I took a long nap today after staying up until 4:00 am to finish my post. My sleeping habits are a mess.


  10. What a feast Marsha. Full of thrills and spills. The collage for The Changing Seasons was perfect (with just a hint of sex ๐Ÿ˜‚ ) I would love to have an IRL blog-up so will have to wait for the report and pictures later on next month.
    I so love your Last Photo, the sky is wonderful. Thanks for joining in both The Changing Seasons and Last on the Card ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks BB. I had to smile at your comment -“hint of sex.” But it was there, wasn’t it. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I gave them some privacy after that last photo and focused on left out, Stan the Snail. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Yay for photo challenges, Marsha! If I wore a hat, I’d doff it in honor of your being the queen of photo challenges and self-proclaimed photo challenge nerd, LOLL!! I can imagine your doctor’s look of “whaaa?” when you explained blogging. Yep, you covered a lot, but who cares? It was a fun read with variety and something for everyone! Thanks for the shout-out and the link for Sunday Stills. What a great blog title Rivers are the lifeblood of the desert! It’s amazing to see what the monsoon rains did for your little creek–wow! It was dry as a bone where we were there. Well, as usual, your post gives me that much more inspiration for the upcoming SS challenge “summer.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Terri. We do get inspiration from each other’s challenges, don’t we. I think I’m going to be taking my blog local in the future and using the business cards Lisa made for me. We had a great interview with the Pastor this week, and he gave us a list of new people. It is very hard to discuss blogging, but the few local friends I know who read it like it, with the possible exception of Cindy. She keeps me mindful about making my posts accessible to non-bloggers.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I didn’t make it. Lisa Coleman designed it and put it in a PDF file with a lot of other logos. I just had to get it off the PDF page and turn it into a jpeg file. My only problem is that it has a background that I have to put in Canva to erase because that’s the only way I know how to do that.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. That was a bit of a nightmare, Marsha. I might not have ever gone on the water again if it happened to me. Ray Davies has such a distinctive voice. I should be packing for our UK trip or cooking supper but here I am, drifting along a lazy river with you ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ’—

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m so glad you’re here, Jo. The river is going very slowly in this spot. It’s meandering through the mongroves and feels like a channel through the tunnel of love. At the other end are blue skies and singing bursting from the birds.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Marsha
    I enjoyed your post.
    The Phil Collins song had a very Lively and energetic vibe – also – liked seeing the pic of you and Terri on your boards (and think I saw one from that trip on her blog).
    Oh and or three fav pictures also would look together – I could imagine them as a triptych on the wall! Beautiful ((and I am going to try to join in with WQW sometime this month) have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Yvette. I really love the challenge. Sometimes it takes me hours to weed through my pictures and ideas to get just what I want from it, but it is very led by the quotes. Hope you are doing well. I’ll be by soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Lots of great images, Marsha, for several challenges. I’d love to join your blogger meetup, but we are not doing much traveling until next month when we start another journey, our first to the east in several years.
    Your focus on rivers is certainly important in these days of water shortages.
    Thanks for the Cellpic Sunday shout-out!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I could do Cell Pic Sunday with almost every post these days. Cells are just so handy! Thanks for reading. Wish you were here. We’d have a great time. Miss you both! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Cee. it’s a little wordy, but I had a lot of ground to cover. I’m beginning to find my groove with WQW. You offered me wise advice which I took ๐Ÿ™‚





Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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