It had been a hard week’s work in Phoenix, Arizona, doing 3 presentations and a multitude of interviews for National Geographic, and I felt in need of some rest and recuperation. So I headed a couple of hours north into the desert, to the small town of Sedona, pop 10,031, founded 1902, elevation 4,500.

Red Rock

I had never been to Sedona before, but had been intrigued by its “energy vortexes” (sic) ever since I first heard of them several years ago while I was researching the Four Corners states of the southwestern US. People from around the world have been drawn to this New Age “spiritual Disneyland” to feel the force of its energy centres.

Did I feel the force? It’s hard to say. As I caught my first glimpse of the Red Rock I did feel a little tearful, overawed by its sheer scale and grandeur. But this is not unusual for me when confronted by one of nature’s more extravagant displays of beauty.

Red Rock Trail

The following day I felt energized and rebalanced after an 11-mile hike with an old friend – but was this vortex energy, or simply the sense of wellbeing that generally ensues from fresh air, exercise, and enjoyable conversation?

I also felt a new appreciation of nature’s majesty as I took my morning walks, escaping from the noise of the highway to stroll amongst twisted junipers and admire the spectacular rock formations – but this could be attributed to the fun I was having with the fisheye lens on my Sony NEX-5N camera, the distorting effect of which I thought appropriate to Sedona’s reputation as a place where things may not be exactly as they seem.

Crazy fisheye effects

I am definitely open to the possibility that particular locations might have a special vibe. Places of worship often have an atmosphere of quiet contemplation and serenity. Historic battlefields can seem sinister, even on a bright sunny day. I am wiling to believe that we can imbue places and spaces with the force of our emotions to such a degree that the emotion lingers long afterwards.

Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter whether Sedona’s force field is real, imagined, or perceptible only to the sensitive few. For me, it was a chance to recover my personal energy and emerge rejuvenated for the next round of meetings, interviews and presentations.

What do you think? Have you been to places where you have felt a particular energy? How would you describe it? Do you know why that energy existed in that place? Did anybody else experience it too? I’d love to hear!


  • Roz et al. This blog made me feel like this sharing this video…

    The first 30 seconds can be skipped as well as the ending… but the dolphins and whales playing with bubble rings were too fantastic for me not to share re: this blog post.

    I like to think that any place that I set foot on (swim, too) is hallowed ground, but especially where the ocean meets the sand.

    We are hitting maximum capacity at Roz’s return to the San Francisco Bay Area Party happening at 6pm pst on March 9th, 2012. At the historic Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club.

    Please RSVP to me at OutsideJay@gmail:disqus   
    .com if you are coming or see the facebook invite(preferable) at  

    Row Roz Row!


  • Hi Roz it’s been awhile. Your blog today inspired me to write about our vacation last summer. We traveled almost 8,000 miles around the United States with our travel trailer. While it was the hottest summer in history we still had a good time and saw lots of wonderful things.
    Heading west, toward home, and after driving a long time across the plains of the Midwest we finally drove up into the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming. We stopped at the highest point on Interstate 80, 8640 feet, to take a break. I got out of the truck and experienced the energy you described. I felt renewed and ran around like a little kid. The air was clean and fresh, it wasn’t hot, which helped, and the scenery was grand.
    I’d have to say that that did it for me, it was spiritual!!
    I’m glad you’re having a good time in our country and hope we can see you again when you’re in our neck of the woods.

  • Acadia National Park in Maine is that place for me.   I feel a peace, energy, and wisdom here that I seldom experience anywhere else.  It’s why I moved here for 2012!

    • Congrats on your move, Carol! I am happy that you found your spiritual home. I have heard good things about Maine, but I haven’t been there since 1987. Might be time for a revisit!

  • Roz,

    As I posted a couple of days ago, I was in Sedona shooting timelapse sequences the same day you were there.

    While the light was not right, I went ahead and produced the sequence anyway. 

    I intended to stay in the area the rest of the day, but the sky cleared up and – without clouds – daytime timelapse sequences can be boring.

    So instead, I drove north through Oak Creek Canyon and headed toward Flagstaff. Since the skies were clear, I had an idea to shoot an astral timelapse sequence.

    However, not just any star sequence … but at the legendary Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, where the planet Pluto (now classified as a “dwarf” planet) was discovered in 1930. 

    And to make it more interesting, Saturday Feb. 18th is the 82nd anniversary of the discovery.

    So I received permission to photograph the historic observatory and telescope with the stars in the background. Each frames was exposed for :30 seconds over a 3 hour time period.

    Here is the result:

    Needless to say, I felt a tremendous energy and a truly historical, positive vibe.

    It was a great experience.

    Best Regards, 

  • I was never religious but I always believed we should all be able to get in touch with our spiritual side in a natural way without a church’s doctrines. I find that connection when I’m out in nature as you did and the more remote I can get the deeper the feeling. On a trip in the remote Northern Ontario Boreal forest where we were a small team reopening old voyageur canoe routes that had been lost for a century there was a sense of the ancient and the timeless where civilization did not exist and it was just you and the universe. That we are all a part of it is powerful.   

    • Jonathan – that sounds really special. I don’t know if it’s because of their great age, but trees definitely have a calming feeling about them. I find myself wondering how long they have been there, and what they might have seen if only they had eyes….

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