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The Sixth Vortex - A new vortex discovery in Sedona

The Sixth Vortex

A new vortex discovery in Sedona

by David J. Mackey

Copyright 2016 David J. Mackey

Published by David J. Mackey at Shakespir

ISBN xxxxxxxx

Shakespir Edition License Notes

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this eBook with another person, please download an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not download it for your enjoyment only, then please delete the file. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Cover design by the author. The cover photo of the Coffee Pot rock formation was taken by the author in Sedona, AZ, in 2015.

Fiction – English language – 10,800 words

[][] Dedication

This book is dedicated to our fellow travelers in 2015, within the Road Scholar tour #1062 – Sedona’s Best, to Dennis Sigman – our tireless and knowledgeable guide who enlightened us with his extensive knowledge of the region and its history and his patience, to my wife, Sandra Herndon – who thoughtfully put together our adventure, and to my friends and fellow writers who have encouraged my writing development over the years. Special acknowledgement goes to Sandra, my patient in-house editor, who helps me fumble through our English language rules to bring you this story. Thank you all

The author and Sandra at Hurricane Ridge on the Olympic Peninsula. WA


Table of Contents



Chapter One – Around Coffee Pot

Chapter Two – Lost

Chapter Three – Vortex Visit

Chapter Four – Back Home

Chapter Five – Validation

Chapter Six – Arizona – a poem

Chapter Seven – Far apart

Chapter Eight – Co-habitation

Chapter Nine – Going public in Sedona

Parting Thoughts

About the Author

Other work by the author


This story began in my head in real-time as I was walking out of the desert forest at the base of Coffee Pot red rock formation near Sedona, Arizona during a trip in 2015. The first few pages will set the scene for you. Early in the story a fictional scenario gradually begins to thread in and out as the story becomes blended invisibly with fact and fiction for the duration.

Many of us now live in a culture where sensitivities to the subtle energies of the natural world have long since been lost. Perhaps my ending to this story can help bring restoration in some small way to this loss and, to those who know and those of us who are still learning.

David J. Mackey


Chapter One – Around Coffee Pot

“I can see my bones in the future, half covered with sand. Bleached bones long since picked clean by bugs, critters and time. I need to get moving. I am two hours out even if I knew where the hell I was going. Why didn’t I bring more water? More too-heavy-to-carry water? OK, clouds are now messing up my bearings. No shadows – no directions. Should have stayed on the trail instead of wandering off for stupid photos. No problem – I never get lost. My trusty compass will get me back to the road and my cell even has a GPS map. Whoa! What in hell is happening? Compass needle is going nuts. Erratic. Settle down. Huh? The cell – no signal. What? There are cell towers all over the place around Sedona. No panic here. I’ll figure this out. This never happens to me. Never before anyway. Too many stories about people lost in the high desert without water. Shit, shit, shit! Where are my Cherokee ancestors when I need them?” Derrick has been talking out loud to himself, a habit of his when he is around home talking to his cats for company. He often wonders if all old men talk to themselves when no one is around to hear. Today there is no one around for sure.

“Thank you, great spirit. I heard that train whistle. A real clue. A much needed clue. Must be this way to the road.” After what seemed to him to be endless miles of plodding in the dusty forest sands and then along the side road shoulder, he finally reached highway 89 running through west Sedona. Tired. Dehydrated. Low on blood sugar. Not good for his hypoglycemia or his atrial fibrillation. Finally, Derrick walked into the Runner’s Shoe store along the highway.

“Does a bus come by here?” Derrick asked the sales guy.

“Not very often.”

“Dang!” His heart sunk even lower. Yes, he could have walked the mile or so back to his room if he had to, but he sure didn’t want to. He was hurtin’.

“You need a ride? You’re looking peaked,” queried a woman sitting nearby where she was trying on sandals.

She looked like a typical middle-aged school teacher. Safe enough for a lift on a public street, Derrick thought to himself. “I am pooped, but I can’t put you out of your way unless you are heading up the road this way.” Derrick waved his hand toward the street. “ I am staying about a mile or so up. You’d get immediate sainthood for the lift.”

“No problem. I have a car but it’s a small one. I am not sure it would fit your long legs.”

“I’ll make it fit. And oh, I lied about the Sainthood part. That saint stuff is not my following. The woods are my church.” Derrick felt safe with his remarks about saints and church. He had noted the car dash was covered with an eclectic mix of native beads, bones and feathers. No dashboard Jesus in sight.

“Mine too.” She replied. “ I’m Robin. Been traveling for three months now. I’ll be home in Boulder in two weeks. What a great trip I’m having!”

“I’m Derrick. Here for a few more days and then back home to Oregon. My room is up there in the Super Eight, on the left by the light. There. Just behind the Golden Goose Café.”

As Derrick extracted his long legs from the passenger side he turned to Robin. “Perfect. I am really grateful for the lift. I am unfit for adult company right now, but if you’re free later, I owe us a pitcher of Oak Creek Nut Brown at the wine and craft beer place next door. I’d even throw in pizza.”

Robin was thoughtful for a minute, cautious and weighing opportunity versus risk with this total stranger. “OK, I am free. What time is good? I just need to go check in. I’m staying with an old college roommate and need to let her know where I’ll be.”

“Is six ok?” Derrick watched her for any reactions.

“See you then.” She replied with a reserved smile.

“Thanks again for the ride. See you at six. Bring your friend if you want to.” Derrick watched her drive the dark blue compact back into traffic. He doubted that she would actually show up later. He thought to himself, “What a day. Getting lost off-trail. Getting back to the road totally exhausted. Getting a ride home. Soon, a shower and a nap, and then going to meet this woman for beer and food. The Universe provides.” Derrick gave a long exhale. “Yes,” he thought as he turned to go to his room. Pooped, he took the elevator this time. He had his fill of exercise already that day.


“Hey, Robin, over here. I was afraid that you might change your mind about meeting some old guy who just wanders out of the woods and bums a ride.”

“You seemed like an honest man. I could sense that – knew it immediately at the road side. No pretenses.”

“You like dark beer?”

“Absolutely,” Robin replied.

“Let’s have the medium pineapple and bacon pizza and a growler of the Oak Creek Nut Brown please.” Their food order headed for the kitchen.

“So tell me about you and your road trip. Are you a writer or an artist or something?” Derrick asks.

“Aren’t we all?” Robin replied.

“I think so, but most folks don’t know that about themselves. Many never discover it in their life time for that matter. It’s great if you have found that out. Can I ask what you are working on?”

“Yes, you can ask, but not everyone likes my answer,” said Robin.

“Try me,” Derrick said.

“OK. I am searching for and learning about invisible, subtle energies that affect us all whether or not we are aware of them.”

“You mean like auras?”

“You know about auras?” Robin said with a surprised look on her face.

Derrick replied, “Some. I studied paranormal stuff around San Francisco for several years. I even took graduate courses at JFK University in Orinda on the PSI subjects. I read everything I could get my hands on. Got to know several practicing psychics, did photography and graphic design for their promotional materials, and attended every workshop and lecture that I could. Yes, I know a little about auras. At least enough to understand a smattering about them. If someone tells you that they know everything – run away fast. I have more questions than answers about the whole subject.”

“I don’t believe what is happening here right now. I give a ride to a very tired guy by the road and find that we share common journeys in a very real sense.”

“You believe in synchronicity?” queried Derrick.

“Yes, but never had it delivered so clearly. Back to your question about my road trip – perhaps it has all been for this moment to occur. Perhaps.”

“Wow. Some say that there is no such thing as coincidence – that time has already occurred and we’re simply travelers along that journey, pre-destiny, almost like watching a movie and playing a part in the movie story at the same time.” After a pause, Derrick continued. “The concept of time is way above my pay level, but I do accept that we each have, and also can be affected by subtle energy fields to one degree or another. Some people and animals are more alert to this than others. Have you ever noticed that you get a sense about a person instantly when first meeting them, even before your conscious mind can clutter up your thinking? Maybe like back at the shoe store.” Derrick watched Robin for any body language and then continued. “We are covering a lot of ground here, but we’re speaking a common language – a gift in itself. I can’t talk about this stuff with many folks. It’s way too ‘granola’ for them. They can’t handle anything beyond normal. They get real churchy which is a signal for me to back off and switch to small talk about the weather.”

“I suppose that you have been to the vortex energy sites here?” Robin asked.

“Nope. Too much hype and too many wanna-be healers milking the naive seekers for me to even want to be near them. Having said that,” he paused and then continued, “ I have no doubt about scientific validation of vortex of energy fields all over the world, and further, that everything reacts to everything else in this universe. Someone said that we are all one. In one sense I can buy that too, but I think that refers more to our soul or life spirit than the subtle electromagnetic fields around us individually. I think what pushes me back is the all of the rituals that get invented and touted and presented as mystical magic.” Derrick went quiet again for a few minutes. Pensive. Thoughtful. Then he continued as Robin watched him. “Years ago when I was looking for easy answers, I meet several reputable psychic practitioners and we became friends. Several of them in Massachusetts, Maine, and then in California. Several told me that the reason that I didn’t feel any sense of change during meditations was because I was usually connected, sort of like being always on-line in internet terminology.”

“Is that true for you, now, Derrick?” Robin had a puzzled expression on her brow.

“Yeah. I have gotten used to being connected. I rely on and trust the guidance from the universe or intuition or whatever you call it. It just happens. I don’t think much about it. It’s just there. There is this sense of knowing. Occasionally, when I am disconnected because of my own immediate stress situation, I can then feel the loss, like not being grounded.”

“Tell me more about this guidance thing,” Robin asked.

“My first notion of this guidance happened years ago when working on simple maintenance projects around the house. When gathering up my materials and tools in the garage, I had to decide just what items I would likely need. I tried to save making extra trips back to the garage for that needed part or tool that I forgot to take with me. So I would ask myself, ‘will I need this item?’ My conscious mind would think, probably not, so I didn’t take it, even though a flash of subtle information in my head said, ‘yes,’ I would need the item. But, with me being in charge or so I thought, I didn’t take the item with me to the work site. Guess what? When I started the repair, I needed it after all. After this repeated several times I began to think, ‘Hmmm, something is going on here.’ Now, I even thank my Jiminy Cricket for the extra help and we both have a silent chuckle. Do you remember Jiminy?”

“Oh yes, I remember Jiminy. What a good metaphor to help explain that.”

After a few moments Derrick says, “This beer is made right here in Sedona. Or, I should say ‘brewed’ to be politically correct or whatever. Here’s to you and your journey, Robin.”

Robin lifts her glass to toast. “Actually here’s to both of our journeys. Hey, Derrick, whatever happened to you today before I gave you a ride? You looked terrible.”

Chapter Two – Lost

“I am a little embarrassed, but I’ll tell you. I am an experienced hiker and wilderness camper, at least in my younger days. While I may have slowed down, I still have the knowledge and generally never get lost or go unprepared in the wilds. I respect the wilderness, and feel safer in the wilds than I often do in cities. If you have been around here for a few days, I am sure that you know of the coffee pot shaped red rock formation just up the road from here? So today I started out on a trail in the forest lands at the base of Coffee Pot. I left the trail for some exploring and interesting photo opportunities. I call it meandering which is also a perfect meditation for me. I guess that I wandered farther off trail than I was aware of at first.

“When the clouds moved in and the sky got overcast, I no longer had the sun for directions. The pines blocked any views of the hills. So I’m thinking no big deal. I had my compass, and cell phone with GPS mapping. Oooops, my compass needle was going nuts. Spinning back and forth regardless of how steady I held it. OK, maybe there was a magnetite vein in the ground somewhere, just like the one I found on Pyramid Mountain in California. I checked my cell phone GPS map. Blank. No signal, no reception bars, no outside connection. Then I was now getting spooked. I was tired. Overloaded and hot. Maybe even confused a little. I’m wondering do coyotes eat tourists? Hungry coyotes? I tried deep breathing. ‘Stay calm I told myself.’ Drank my last water. Ate my last Lara bar.

“Then a distant train whistle broke the silence. At last, a bearing. I began walking in that direction. My compass settled back to normal after a few hundred feet. Soon after that my cell phone became normal. I took a GPS reading and noted the location. Soon I came across my earlier tracks, but they wandered aimlessly as I was looking for photo subjects. After nearly miles it seemed, I came across the trail again. I could relax even though I still had hot miles ahead to reach the road. My water was gone and so was my energy. Really tired. I plodded on imagining how good an ice cream would taste or even better, a tall cold beer. Just mental chatter of sorts, but it took my mind off water. Funny how the water filter in my pack just doesn’t work with dry sand.

“Finally I reached the road and went into the shoe store hoping for any local bus information. Then you came along. Think about the odds of that timing. Robin! Robin, did I say something wrong? What’s up? You suddenly look pale.”

“You said that you have not been to the vortex sites. True?” asked Robin.

“True. Never been there,” Derrick said.

“What you are describing sounds like an energy vortex. A freaking vortex.” Robin became animated. Excited.

“No shit! Robin, this is weird, and it’s not the beer talking here.”

Derrick leaned in and whispered to Robin. “There is a couple sitting at the table behind you. Don’t turn around now, but they are suddenly very quiet and straining to hear what we are saying right now. They may have heard everything up to this point. I wasn’t paying any attention to my volume and was simply caught up in our conversation. They either think that we are nut cases or something more intense.”

The nearby couple, fiftyish perhaps, and definitely dressed like locals, were now sitting quietly and looking down at their plates. Not eating, just sitting there without making a sound. Listening. Waiting for Robin and Derrick to continue their conversation.

Quietly Derrick spoke to Robin. “I’d feel better if we continued this discussion in private. Suddenly their interest in our conversation is making me uneasy. Creepy, even. My place or yours? Any place, but not here. OK?”

Robin replied, “No problem. I’m with you on this one. What were we saying about intuition? This is a good example.”

Derrick motions to the waiter. “Can you box the pizza please? We decided to take it home.”

“Robin, I’m just next door, but we need to move your car. Let’s drive down the road and then go around the block and pull into the motel from the other direction. This will all be out of sight from them. We can also keep an eye open.


Derrick spoke as they pull into the parking lot. “Robin, park under that light. My room is on the second floor. We can take the stairs. Let’s dine in style using the desk. Oh, please turn the latch on the door. Those people listening gave me the creeps. I guess I’ve watched too many crime shows.” Derrick checked the parking lot below from his second story window.

“Yummy. Craft beer in a foam cup. I hope the brew master doesn’t find out. I won’t tell. Cheers again.” Robin raises her cup in a mock toast.

“So what about this possible new vortex? Is it a big deal?” Derrick settles back into his chair with his beer in hand.

Robin exclaimed. “Huge. Absolutely huge. This region has its entire economy based on tourism. Part of the attraction is the splendid natural beauty of the region, like Coffee Pot, and all of the artists and writers that it inspires. The other part of the attraction is based on people worldwide coming here for the promise of healing or spiritual enlightenment at the five vortex sites. Discovery of a sixth vortex would send the real estate market through the roof all over again.” Robin continues, “That couple in the pub looked like locals. That’s why they went into full alert once they figured out what we were talking about. I’ll wager they’ve already made phone calls to friends about this.” After a few moments Robins continues. “Thanks for the pizza and that great beer. It’s been a full day. I need to head out and sleep on all of this new excitement. How about me picking you up in the morning about 9. We can get some breakfast somewhere in town and talk more?”

“Sounds good to me. I’m pooped too. See you in the morning. I’ll watch for your car and come down when you pull in. Good night, and thanks again for today.”

“Good night.” The door clicks shut.


“You look fresher this morning, Derrick.”

“You too, Robin, it’s amazing what beer, food, and sleep will do for tired bones. Thanks for picking me up and driving again.” Derrick folded his legs into the passenger side and pulled the door shut.

“We need to talk more about this vortex thing. Let’s find some breakfast and see if we are followed. Your ponytail makes you very visible. You are the only link to this new vortex location.” Robin looked around cautiously as she pulled into traffic and headed towards downtown.

Downtown Sedona is overloaded with the typical tourist tee-shirt stores, a broad variety of bookstores and places to eat with offerings to suit any palette. Likely, it is a good place to get lost among the tourist crowds.

Derrick paused, watching Robin as she drove on. “OK. Where is Jiminy Cricket when I need him? What should we do now? Am I in danger? Are we in danger? While so far only I can find the site again, I can soon see the forest flooded with opportunists for several miles around once word gets out that there is a sixth vortex site. Someone will surely stumble on to it just like I did.”

Robin spoke. “You keep saying we. What are you thinking? You found the site. I am simply the one who gave you a lift back to your room. You owe me nothing.”

“It’s not about owing, Robin. It’s about sharing and discovery. My fumbling and your clarification made it all come together. I would have dismissed it as fatigue and dehydration, and gone on my way. So, yes, I want to share our discovery with you. You can add this new twist to your trip-journal.”

“You never told me what you do for a living that gives you months off to travel. Do you teach?” he asked Robin.

“No teaching. I am taking a break before starting a new editing job in Boulder next month. Been there?”

“Nope. Never been. But this getting spookier. I am a freelance writer. I am simply here for a vacation. I continually gather experience and material for whatever writing project I decide to take on next.”

“Are you going to write about Sedona, Derrick?”

“I hadn’t planned to – until right now. Don’t you see it? A whole story line has just been given to us. From my getting lost, to right now and beyond. This is a story waiting to be written. I’ll rough it out and you edit it. We will be a team. Co-authors of yet another vortex book. And not to be overly crass, but a hungry market is waiting right here in town.”

“Hmmm. Interesting. How about a title?” Robin asked.

“I usually don’t know the title until the piece is written, but this one is already calling to me. How about - The Sixth Vortex? Will your new publisher handle a new- age title like that?”

“No problem with the subject matter or the title. Remember when I told you about my quest during this long vacation break. Well, it is all coming together because my new publisher seeks out and publishes new age material. You write. I’ll edit. And they will hopefully publish. May it be that simple.”

“OK. Let’s get our feet back on the ground. What first? Do we need to tell anyone about the vortex? No, on second thought, I guess we should tell no one.”

“Right, we tell no one. Maybe announce it later with a press release about the new book when it’s ready. Maybe a release party and book signing right here in Sedona.” Robin responds.

“Maybe we announce it with someone from the geology department at Northern Arizona University? Do they even acknowledge the vortex concept? Probably, but I guess only if they can measure it with some geeky device. I think the field that caused my compass behavior must be measurable. Wow! I just remembered that several years ago I bought an EMF meter when I had health concerns about the electromagnetic fields from my computer monitors and other devices. I still have it. I had forgotten all about that until right now. Hmmm. This new energy field discovery will definitely get their attention once they can get past the Sedona tourist hype about vortex sites. This could be a new electromagnetic field vortex site. I am getting excited already. Real science. Damn!” Derrick exclaims.

“I am already thinking from my publisher’s perspective,” Robin said.

“So, Robin, in a few days I fly back to Oregon and you drive on to Boulder. It seems an abrupt ending to this explosive crescendo, but it’s not really an ending. It seems more like a beginning of something special. Oh man, there is a real under-statement. If you don’t have any plans, let’s max out these last days. Maybe go to one of the established vortex sites tomorrow to get a better sense of the local vortex culture.”


Chapter three – Vortex Visit

“Robin, do you sense anything?”

“Not yet. It’s hard to be calm after that tour bus just dumped off forty eager seekers expecting to see white light waiting for them.”

“That is the sad part of this Sedona vortex marketing thing.” Derrick is shaking his head in disgust. He continues, “Too many sham marketers pretending to be sky pilots. It discredits those who have real skills and real sensitivities, those who could actually help people in need. Robin, how can the two be separated, the good from the bad? I guess that is a universal question that applies to all situations and participants.”

“Hey, Derrick, it just came to me like a flash. The book. This could be the objective for your book. Explanations of the scientific acknowledgement, and also the invisible and subtle healing properties of energy fields that are factual. Real information bridging the two aspects without the exploitation by the fast talking tour operators just trying to drum up business. Real information without all of the hocus pocus stuff. Vortex sites demystified. Get it?”

“I like it. A mission. No pun intended.” Derrick continued, “Right now I want to hang out at this vortex area for a while. Meander around a little. Eavesdrop on conversations as we wander around the site. Data collection of sorts. It might all be helpful when I get back to Eugene, and you get back to Boulder.”


Chapter Four – Back Home

“Robin, just a quick email to let you know that I am home, bags and all. I wish that Eugene was on your way so that you could stay over for a few days. We could work on the book in addition to getting better acquainted. Stay in touch. Cheers, Derrick.”

“Derrick, I’ll spend a few more days in Sedona before I head north. My room is good until Tuesday. Thanks to your new vortex discovery I now have a more focused purpose to be here. I want to get more depth in any of the vortex information, and scope out book marketing opportunities for us when we are ready. I’ll visit one of the other vortex sites and see what I feel there, if anything at all. We need to know what this is all about aside from the mystic hype. We also need to seek out local contacts without giving away our new vortex secret. For now our interest can simply be for another book about the existing sites. I’ll check in with you every day or so. And yes, it would be nice if Eugene was on the way. I checked the map. The distance by car is prohibitive. Another time we can talk about air travel. All the best, Robin.”


Derrick began another email. “Greetings, Robin. I spent yesterday afternoon at U of O, gathering all of the information that I could manage about vortex science. The science folks were wary until I started talking about electromagnetic fields and then they relaxed a little. I tried to dress like a geology major if you know what I mean – hiking boots and jeans. I have also been gathering information from the web. My first site was for the US Govt. Berkeley Lab. This site gave me a headache instantly. Way too deep for this old guy. I did learn that the Bermuda Triangle is a huge scientific example of electromagnetic effects on magnetic compass readings – exactly what I experienced when I got lost in Sedona, except then on a much smaller scale.

Now I am thinking that we both should have revisited the new vortex site before I left town to validate what I remembered from my exhausted hike before you picked me up. It all seemed clear to me then, but what if the heat or dehydration was messing with my thinking? What if there is nothing? No electromagnetic field. No readings on an EMF meter.

Robin, you are still in Sedona. If you want to take on the task, do you want to re-visit my location? Not alone, I mean. You should have someone with you to help find the site again and for general hiking safety, in twos as they recommend. But, who? It would cost too much for me to fly back and get shuttled up from Phoenix. The only one in town that I would trust enough to let into this is a guide named Danny Stands. He is solid stock and knows the region like the back of his hand. We became friends during my visit. He would keep quiet about this whole vortex thing if I asked him to and then explained why. Danny would also be a handy local to be connected with when the book is ready. Any thoughts on this, about your going to the site, and so on?”

After some reflection, Robin replied with an email back to Derrick, “I am more than a little nervous, but this does fit into my whole trip’s purpose about subtle energies and so on. Actually it’s more than I ever expected from my trip. I’ll have to trust your gut about hiking with Danny. Maybe I could invite my friend Sandy to join the hike? I’ve known her forever and would be more comfortable with another woman along. She would keep her mouth shut for sure. I will need the GPS information you wrote down, and a map of some sort. Sandy can get us a topo map here in town, probably already has a compass. Can you overnight your EMF meter? You need to phone Danny and feel him out. We’ll have to trust your intuition about him keeping this to himself, for now anyway. I sure wish that you were here. Hugs, Robin”


[]Chapter Five – Validation

“Dear Robin, There is a vortex site at Gold Hill right here in Oregon south of me an hour or so. You can read about it at http://www.oregonvortex.com/ I am anxious to check it out. I’ll give you a full report afterwards. Have you met up with Danny yet?”

“Derrick, we have a meeting this afternoon to set up our hike for tomorrow. Sandy is onboard with us. Your meter arrived yesterday and we have a topo map. My cell phone map can give me GPS information. I also printed out a map with your GPS location marked. It looks like you got farther off the trail than you thought you were. It is a good hike but we will take more water and start in the cooler morning. You were half way around Coffee Pot. Did you realize that? Cheers, Robin”

“Robin, No shit! No wonder that I was dragging when I finally reached the road. More later, Derrick”


Robin and Sandy met up with Danny at the Golden Goose parking lot. “Hi, Danny. Nice job with the weather this morning don’t you think?”

Danny shouted back, “You can leave your car here and ride with me. People won’t mess with a local car at the trail head. Don’t forget your pack. You said that you have maps. Let’s have a look before we start out. So that’s your meter? What’s it called?”

“It’s an EMF TriField meter that measures electromagnetic fields. It has several sensitivity ranges. Let me show you. This reading is just from your watch’s field. Turn on your cell phone for a real surprise.” Robin demonstrated the meter.

Danny exclaimed, “Wow. That’s an amazing little gadget. Who knew? I’ve been on this trail before for the first mile or so. According to your map, we will need to veer off northerly and then go around the base of Coffee Pot for another couple of miles. We should check the meter frequently and also watch for any odd compass behavior. At the other vortex sites the compass gets real goofy. You can’t trust it. Luckily it’s clear today so we will have the sun for navigation when we get into the taller pines and might lose compass accuracy at the same time. You said Derrick got lost. How did that happen? Heavy cloud cover?”

Robin replied, “He told me the sky was completely overcast. Between the tree canopy hiding the hills and the lack of sun he couldn’t get any bearings. His compass and cell phone went berserk. Finally he heard a train whistle or horn and headed in that direction until he reached the trail. He was one tired guy when I picked him up along the road. His thinking may have been a little fuzzy from dehydration and his low blood sugar”

They walked in silence until they reached the place to leave the trail off to the left and then headed more northerly.

“Robin and Sandy, take a good look around and make mental notes of the position of Coffee Pot on our left. We will want it on our right when we head back later. The clear sky should hold for the day so we should have no problems getting back to the trail and car.”

They walked for a mile or so lost in their thoughts and the silence of the forest except for the jays complaining about their intrusions and the rhythmic crunch of the course, dry, sandy soil under their hiking boots.

“Danny! Check out this compass needle. It is beginning to swing back and forth. Nothing is showing on the meter so far.”

“My God, this is getting spooky already.” Sandy offered.

“OK now. The meter is starting to react. I think that we must be getting into the edge of the vortex field. You are right, Sandy. This is spooky. I think that it’s time for a break, food and some location notes.” Robin loosened the shoulder straps of the day pack, unsnapped the waist strap and slid the pack to the ground.

Danny offered, “Robin, here is a possible plan. After our rest, let’s walk in a straight line and make signal strength notes as we go. Assuming that the field might be circular we would eventually walk out of the field on the other side. When the field strength starts to drop we can back up and begin to narrow down a possible vortex center location and field outline. Any idea how wide the center might be? They didn’t offer vortex science when I was a kid. I took high school science, but that was pretty lame.”

“Something is odd. Can’t describe it, but I think I’m feeling something,” Robin whispers as though keeping a secret from the pines and the low cactus.

“Damn, this is creepy, Robin.” Sandy’s eyes are getting wider as she looks around nervously. “Nothing here looks any different than the woods we’ve been in for the last two hours and yet the meter is starting to react.”

Robin called out, breaking the hushed mood. “We seem to be showing maximum meter strength in this area. Here are a couple of rocks to mark the location. We don’t want to flag it more than that for secrecy sake. The only tracks so far are coyotes, quail and boots. Probably Derrick’s boot tracks from the other day.” Robin pauses and then adds, “I wonder if the Indians ever found this spot. It seems like they would have marked it somehow unless they wanted to keep it secret, maybe as a spiritual site.” Quiet.

Danny broke the short silence as he rejoined the two. “Unfortunately we won’t get any good GPS readings until we get away from the field’s interference. This a pretty good sketch of the field pattern based on the meter, sort of a rough ellipse.” Danny passed the sketch to Robin. “Danny, I think that we have enough information for Derrick and me for the book he told you about. Let’s walk back slowly and watch the cell phone for signs of life. We can take GPS readings and also call Derrick and report in when we get a signal. He will be so excited. Sandy. Sandy! Let’s head back.”

“I am more than ready.” Sandy’s discomfort was visible.


“Hello Derrick. It’s Robin. I am here on the trail with Danny and Sandy. There is no vortex field anywhere around here. We have walked for hours and even found your tracks. Nothing. No EMF readings. No compass reactions. Nothing here at all except sand and rocks.” Robin was shaking trying to suppress her laughter.

“For real? Damn. Damn! Maybe it was the heat screwing with my brain after all. Dang it all. I’ve got the book half written in my head. Now what? Shit!” Derrick exclaims.

“Derrick! Derrick! I’m kidding you, my friend. Kidding. Do you hear me? We found the site just as you said. You were right. The GPS numbers you took matched up. We have sketched out the rough field shape for you from the EMF readings.”

“OK. Ok, Robin, you owe me one for that.” Derrick exclaimed.

“That’s a promise. Danny and Sandy are as excited as I am. Be sure to call Danny at home tonight. Right now we have a few miles to hike before we reach the car so we need to get going. Wish that you were here right now. I’ll swear Danny to secrecy before we part company this afternoon. Bye, Derrick.”


“Derrick, I’m back in my room at Sandy’s after a long day on hot dusty trails. We all just grabbed a burger at the wine and beer place to celebrate. We agreed beforehand to talk only about the Sedona community. No vortex talk. Too many ears around. It was hard not talking about our day, but we managed. So here I am showered with my feet up, spirits high, and the trail dust knocked off my boots. Did I mention pooped? I’ll sleep tonight for sure.”

“Robin, you did great. I would have given my eye teeth to have been there today. Oh well. The book is on my mind constantly. I have the first chapter roughed out and an outline of the story ahead. It’s about a writer creating a story, but he seems to be falling in love with a character in the story. This constantly challenges his sense of reality versus imagined story. A very rough draft will be in your email when you get home, or I can send it now if you want to look it over on your laptop.”

“Oh yes, please send it now. I have a good connection here. Can’t wait to read it. Gotta get off the phone. My battery needs a recharge, just like me right now. Good night, new friend.”

“Good night Robin. Thanks again for all you have accomplished during these last few days. Here is a short poem that I wrote during the flight back home.

Sleep well, lady.”


Chapter Six – Arizona – a poem



By David J. Mackey

Yes, I have been to Arizona.

I thought everybody had.

It was decades ago and

I was decades there.

I tasted the Arizona wines.

I climbed the red rocks

and walked the mesas.

I swam naked in Oak Creek pools

And meandered in the pinon pines.

I laid in the shade of

cottonwood trees

and napped in afternoon heat.

Yes, I have been to Arizona.

I thought everybody had.

I wandered the canyons

and slept near the river.

I meditated in the cliffs

and felt dry winds on my face.

Yes, I have been to Arizona.

I thought everybody had.

I went to Arizona a long time ago

looking for a man – a lost man.

I found him there several times

and then lost him again.

Maybe I have found him now.

I am never quite sure.

How does one grasp a dream?

Do we spend our lives in Arizona

looking for a wish or a fragment

of an illusion carried deep inside?

But then – which illusion?

There are so many.

I have found some of those dreams,

some of those wishes

and they taste so sweet.

I have found some.

Yes, some, but not all

or I would soon grow lazy

in that Arizona sun.

Yes, I was in Arizona.

I may still be there now.


Chapter Seven – Far Apart

“Derrick, it has been pure joy to get home and totally unpack the car. Esther, next door, has been feeding my cat and watering the plants. Mail is about a foot deep but mostly junk mail for recycle. Critter, my cat, is slightly pissed at me for leaving her for that long. She’ll get over it and be in my lap again by tonight. The final drive home was long but with lots of time for thinking about our vortex story and possibly our own story, if you know what I mean. It’s interesting how the mind continues conversation even when we are in different places physically. Am I imagining this? Am I making any sense? I worry about becoming over invested emotionally after having such limited time together in Sedona. I recall our brief time and wish that we had even a few more days to get to know more about each other then.”

“Robin, got your email after taking a morning bike ride along the river trail. I love the morning air and the symphony of morning bird songs. I also get distracted enough on the bike for some deep thinking during the ride. About the book, and yes, about possibilities for us. I have been unattached for almost two years now. My last relationship dissolved mutually, but has left a void needing more than recreational encounters now and then. My choice is for a monogamous relationship that is settled and comfortable. Do you know a suitable candidate? I think that I may have met someone during my recent trip to Arizona. You might know her.” Derrick clicks the send tab and leans back in his chair. Thoughtful. Quiet.

“Dear Derrick, I heard about some crazy woman driving around the west picking up weird guys along the road. You might check her out. I think that you might find her to be a good catch. I think that I might even have her email address, might even know where she lives. Has a cat named Critter I recall. Be careful. You never know about strangers. Cheers, Robin”

“Robin, How do I get in touch with this possible nut case you described? She sounds like a perfect match for this guy who gets lost in the desert and comes out mumbling some excuse for being lost. She then has a beer with him. Perfect qualifications, in my book. Hugs, Derrick”


Weeks blended into months as Derrick and Robin continued their communication by email or phone about the vortex book progress and also learning about each other. About their years as kids, college, their former partnerships. The emotional bonds were growing between them, paced by the reality of distance and their own lives in their own communities. The book draft grew to eight chapters and was sent back and forth many times for comments, edits, and additions. It was no longer a short story. Segments were considered for queries, but nothing had been sent out so far. Developing the story remained the focus for their long distance energies for now.

“Greetings Robin, Now that the story characters have decided vicariously that they are in love we have to get them together again in the same place don’t you think? How about my coming to Boulder for a few days over the holidays or you coming here to Eugene? Hugs, Derrick”

“Derrick, Funny how great minds think alike. I think that’s a great idea. I’ll set you up with that crazy lady that you had your eye on in Sedona. I hear that she is available. Robin”

“Robin, OK. Boulder it is. I want to start packing right now. Signed, Anxious”

“Derrick, Let’s think about you coming here on the 22nd. I will pick you up at the airport. Can you stay until after the first? Be careful. We might get tired of each other after living alone for so long. I’m willing to take the risk. Even looking forward to it. Take your vitamins, big boy and bring your toothbrush. Hugs, Crazy Lady”


The holiday visit was rich with discovery and bonding between Derrick and Robin. They spent their days visiting the Boulder region and cultural highlights. The evenings were spent with dinners cooked at home or an occasional night out on the town. Conversation was about the vortex book’s progress and potential marketing sometime in the months ahead, and of course about each other and possibilities of someday living together.


When the visit was over, realities of living alone again became part of the winter months remaining. Their new romance gave them emotional support with phone calls and emails back and forth. The book gave Derrick purpose as the days passed. Robin’s job with the publisher helped her weekdays stay busy but did nothing to fill the down time. Their bond needed touch and presence. This new love wanted nurturing and togetherness.

“Dearest Robin, I’ve been thinking about our possibilities. It seems that we have something good between us that needs togetherness beyond emails and phone calls. As an independent writer I can live anywhere I wish. My rental here has no lease, leaving me free to move out with just simple notice required. What if I moved to Boulder near you? Is that too scary so soon? It’s not like we are innocent beginners at relationships. I think that we each have enough experience to have a good sense about our feelings, and any risks that might challenge us. We have hinted around getting closer together. I am putting this in email to give you time to consider your answer before you blow me out of the water. Hugs, Weird Guy”

Robin replies with her email. “OK, Weird Guy, It’s time for you to stop getting lost in the wilds and then hitting on passing women pretending that you need a ride. I have been having similar thoughts, about you moving here that is. Here is an immediate upgrade offer. It doesn’t make sense for you to move into a rental here and then presumably move in with me a few months later. You do seem house broken and definitely trainable. What if you move in with me initially and then if all goes well we look for a house together in the future. I am willing to take the risk. Have you had all your shots? Any recent felonies? Any illegal habits? Love, Crazy Lady”

“Dearest Crazy Lady, I found an old poster from the Post Office that has my photo and a brief bio. I can also give you a letter of recommendation from my ex-wife suggesting that I should go somewhere. I spilled beer on it and can’t read where she was referring to. Somewhere starting with H. Maybe she meant Boulder? I am sort of house broken. Don’t spit in the sink if anyone is around. I take out the beer cans when they start to get underfoot. I can cook most canned goods and make a great Spam sandwich. I take a bath every week and even change my socks. I’ll make a good lover – I read all about it. You gotta a job? How much allowance will I get? Hugs back to you from the Weird Guy”

“Dear Weird Guy, I have decided that I need references and a letter from your parole officer before I can make such an important decision. Did you mention whether you have all of your teeth? Robin”

“Robin, Some of the front ones are missing. Couldn’t find them after a bar fight. Gotta go now. Some cop is banging on my door. Damn!”

“Dear Derrick, OK. You sound like the perfect mate for me. However, no kids. OK? We definitely need to interrupt your gene pool. On the serious side, I am excited. It’s like opening Pandora’s box. Once the moving and co-habitation thoughts start up they take on a life of their own. Let’s do it. Scared but ready, Robin”


Chapter Eight – Co-habitation

The next months passed by quickly. Derrick made a trip to boulder again in the spring as sort of a reality check for their co-habitation plans. He stayed for almost a week while they talked late into the nights about the possibilities and perils of co-habitation after their years of solo living.

It was late June when Derrick packed for the move to boulder. Robin made space. Forget putting the car in the garage anymore. They will simply call it storage area for now.

“Hello, Robin, I can hardly hear you. Too much traffic noise. It looks like I’ll be there by mid-afternoon. Can’t wait. Bye.”


“Derrick, you must still have road noise in your head. It sure was good to see the truck pull up in front with your car dragging along behind.”

“Climbing through the two mountain ranges was hot hell. Rental vans aren’t built for big loads, a car in-tow, and long steep hills. I think they equip them just for the short trips around town. Some long hills took almost an hour in second gear inching along at thirty miles an hour or so. That got real old. I expected boil-overs at any time. Now about that beer you owe me. I am here to collect. There are some other incentives, but after a shower. I also need to unhitch the car and back the truck into the driveway. Unloading, and the truck return is for tomorrow. Put on some nice music. I’ll be right in.”


“Hey truck driver, you smell better already. I fixed a few munchies for us before we get too distracted. Red or white?” Robin waves a couple of wine glasses.

“Red is my usual. Thanks.”


“Ah, morning air in Boulder. Over a mile high, I’m in a whole new climate. Exciting. Man, I slept like a rock. Must have been your sweet loving that did it. I will definitely keep that therapy in mind.”

“That’s the last of the boxes. Good to see the van empty and gone finally. A milestone don’t you think?” Derrick hangs up his over-shirt on the hall peg and does a big exhale. He is home.

Derrick and Robin merged themselves, their households and careers together relatively smoothly. Former marriages and lessons learned helped with this transition. Robin’s new job with the publisher was satisfying and paid well. Derrick continued writing his book and contributing his share to the household finances from his retirement and investment funds. They worked out of Robin’s study – Derrick during the day while Robin was at the office, and then sharing the space during evenings and weekends. Robin’s cat bonded with Derrick’s gentleness immediately. Leisure times were spent enjoying each other. Robin introduced Derrick to the Boulder area and the cultures of the region which were similar to many of Eugene’s attitudes about people, environment and preservation of natural areas. Boulder was a good fit for Derrick.

“Robin, I want to share some thoughts about the Vortex story. Something is missing in the story. We talked about this in Sedona.” Derrick paused and then continued. “I think I want to weave in information that could help bridge the void between valid scientific explanations of electromagnetic fields with the vortex spiritual manifestations. There are many misconceptions fanned by some of the questionable healers and shamans of the world. I think that you suggested this in Sedona, but it got lost in all of the confusion at the time”.

“You know – I absolutely accept the validity of many sensitive practitioners in that field. The problems, from my perspective, come from the fakes who take advantage of individuals genuinely needing help. Although there are valid healers available, there are no controls or ratings to rank the real from the sham offerings. No way for sorting out the good from the bad. Am I making any sense here, Robin?”

After a brief pause Robin replied. “I’m with you. The paranormal is a difficult subject for most of us to grasp. The factual aspects get discredited by hype shrouded in gaudy trappings and made up dogma. The whole field is also threatening to the religious institutions that rather sell or promote their own versions of their belief system. Give me a break.” Robin sighed and shrugged her shoulders.

Derrick continued. “I fully agree. I will try to expand that area in the book with more information that typically is avoided in mainstream writings. After we refine and review the new text additions, I think that we are ready to have an editor go through the manuscript. Is there someone in your company who I could for hire without breaking the bank?” queried Derrick.

“I think that being at the twelve thousand word level, you should think about whether to commit growing it to book length or pausing at the short story market for now. The short story market is broad with even more publishing options than the book market. Self-published short story collections are another aspect for you to think about considering with your collection of prose and lyrics that you’ve written over the years. This also opens a whole new world of possibilities. There are several people, both within the company and independents, who do various levels of editing. Their rates are typically in the one to eight cents per word range. You need to discuss your needs with them individually. Most editors are real solid folks. Be wary of any editor that you don’t feel comfortable with or that guarantees getting published.” Robin watched Derrick as he sipped his wine and leaned back in his chair.

As weeks passed and after the initial editing was over, Derrick asked, “Robin, now that the first editing review for Vortex is completed, we need to make decisions about publishing. For example, do we submit to publishers like your company? What market should we target? Periodicals, books, print or eBooks, self-published or not? The writing seems to me to have been the easier part in some respects. Now, here is this whole spectrum of publishing and marketing choices and decisions to make. I am getting a headache already just thinking about it. It’s lucky for me that I have a publishing professional in my new life, not to mention other benefits as well.” Derrick sat watching Robin ponder her reply. They often enjoyed a good balance of humor in their interactions with each other which also helped relieve the normal stresses in their day-to-day lives. Robin’s publishing demands generally stayed at her office so dust-ups were infrequent and then generally only over poor communications on some minor issue or another.


“Hey Derrick, you never told me about your visit to the vortex that you visited in Oregon.”

“Oh yeah, thanks for the reminder. It was interesting. Did you check out the web site I sent you? No one was there so I just walked into this slanted open building on the site. It was kind of weird. I’m not sure how much of it might have been my mind screwing with me – you know, the power of suggestion. I did feel some disorientation and unsteadiness. The building seemed like out of a carnival side show. Distance perspective seemed out of whack. It all cleared when I walked back out into the parking lot. My body simply wanted to leave the area. With no one around it felt extra weird. I headed for home more confused than enlightened. This seemed like another example of hype-for-profit instead of letting the site be experienced for itself. Why do site owners always feel they need to puff it all up with fake tilted buildings?”


Derrick knew of several old friends from years ago back east in the Adirondacks and also from his years living in the San Francisco area. They now live in Boulder. One is Thomas, a friend who operated a mountaineering store near Lake Placid in the high peaks area of the Adirondack region of New York State. Thomas and his wife now design high-tech mountaineering equipment with suppliers and vendors worldwide. Now that Derrick lives in Boulder he is anxious to connect again after some thirty years linked only by occasional phone calls. Another old friend is Jen, from Derrick’s high school years. She and her husband have a vacation condo and come to Boulder a couple of times a year. Another couple are from Marin County in the Bay area of California. They moved to Boulder a few years after Derrick moved away. Frank and his wife Angela are healers who practiced various subtle holistic approaches for patients in need. Connections with Frank and Angela have been lost for a dozen years or so and may require some searching for renewed friendship connections. Derrick was anxious to learn about any knowledge they might have about magnetic vortex field healing properties.


Chapter Nine – Going Public in Sedona

Derrick and Robin decided to self-publish The Sixth Vortex, thinking that a ready market exists in the Sedona area and beyond. While they were proceeding with the book production details, word had leaked back to Sedona of their discovery of a sixth vortex site although no one else really knew were the new vortex was located. In full-alert mode, Derrick and Robin made a timely advance trip to Sedona to line up book release publicity and signing opportunities. They met with the tourism groups, retailers and the Chamber to explore and schedule events.


Derrick and Robin were exhausted. They had met with various groups from breakfast into the evening for three days now. As suspected or hoped for, the reception for The Sixth Vortex book was overwhelming. Delivery of the first printing was still weeks away and already sold out with advances and deposits to back up the orders. At the last minute Robin was able to increase the printing to 1,000 copies without delaying the book delivery date.


On the last evening of their trip, Robin and Derrick met with Sandy, and Danny Stands, at the Golden Goose for tall drafts of Oak Creek Nut Brown to toast the success of this whole adventure that had involved each of them two exciting years ago when the vortex was discovered by accident by Derrick.

A middle aged woman quietly approached their table. She appeared to be Indian, modestly dressed. Derrick spoke. “Are we making too much noise?” He asked quietly.

The woman spoke. “Are you the man who is writing a new vortex book?” Her gaze stayed downward. A sign of respect in the Indian culture.

“Yes. I am Derrick McDonald.” This is my wife and partner, Robin Cobb. These folks are our friends, Sandy Morgan, and Danny Stands. Is there a problem? Will you join us?” Derrick pointed to an empty chair.

The Indian woman spoke slowly. “Thomas Barker is the Tribal Council Chief for the tribes of the region. He asks that you come to the Council office at 10 in the morning tomorrow to meet with the elders. It is important. They know of you and your new book. That is all I know.” She bowed her head slightly without lifting her gaze and left as quietly as she came. Derrick and Robin arrived at the Tribal Council building at 10, as requested by the woman the night before. The mystery of the invitation was cause for some concern and left them both anxious and deep in thought. Had they in some way offended someone in the tribe? Had they disrespected sacred ground? The questions kept churning in their minds. ‘What? How? Where? ‘

The council building was quiet. They wondered if anyone was even inside the main assembly room that they were directed toward. The heavy doors were closed. They waited in the hall space. Quiet. Pensive. The doors swung open slowly. They could see into the dimly lighted room. Some fifteen or so solemn faced men sat around the outside of the space. A tall man in his seventies approached them with his weathered hands outstretched. “I am Thomas Barker or Thomas Two Feathers in our world. Thank you both for honoring this council with your presence. Please sit.” Thomas gestured toward two chairs arranged as part of the Council circle.

“You have brought a great gift to this Council and to our people, a gift that you are unaware of. Our story tellers know that many years ago, before the white man, there were many sacred healing places here in the red hills and deserts. Places where the great spirit talked to our people and helped heal our sick and injured. Over many years of hardships and fighting, one of the sacred spaces became lost.” Thomas paused and then spoke again in the quiet room. “Today our people know of five of those sacred places. The white man calls them vortexes. The sixth healing place has never been found again.” Thomas paused again and slowly turned around as he made eye contact with each of the elders. He continues, “ Our friends in town tell us that you have found the sixth sacred place. For many generations we have been waiting for this.” All becomes quiet.


Parting Thoughts

The preparations for writing this book have again given me unexpected gifts beyond anything I anticipated. A writer’s mind has ongoing challenges to balance the accepted, the unaccepted, the visible and the subtle influences not visible. The mind can sometimes be unclear which is which. The known and the unknown often have indistinct boundaries, and even more so – conflicting boundaries. How does a creature know, having had no teaching? How does the caterpillar know when and how to spin its cocoon? The new born to suckle? The flower to have its shape? We have so much to learn. Some is science. The rest?

Thank you for joining me for these brief shared moments. May we meet again as we continue on our journeys.


David J. Mackey

I welcome readers to connect with me

by visiting my website: http://islandpen.us


About the Author

David John Mackey was born in Potsdam, NY, and grew up beside the Racquette River in Saint Lawrence County. Those early years in northern New York State instilled reverence for nature and art that continues to this day. Cameras and pencils became tools of choice for his photography, art, and writing. David lived in the Adirondack region for most of his first forty-five years. He later moved to New England and then to the San Francisco area where his writing, photography, and outdoor adventures broadened. He is now living with his wife and two cats in Washington State along the Olympic Peninsula in west Puget Sound. He continues his photography, writing and art from their Harstine Island home.

[]Other work by the author

My first eBook publication – Ponder this . . . is a collection of my poetry and images from over five decades of living in the northeast, California and now the northwest. Ponder this… was published in October, 2015. This free eBook offering is available through links in my http://islandpen.us website, or your favorite eBook vendor.


The Sixth Vortex - A new vortex discovery in Sedona

Derrick, a visiting writer/hiker from Oregon stumbles into an unknown energy vortex site near Sedona, Arizona. After getting lost he finds his way back to the highway and hitches a ride with a woman named Robin, who is also visiting the area on her way to Boulder to start her new job with a publisher. When Derrick learns that his getting lost was caused by the vortex energy field messing with his compass and his cell phone, he then becomes aware of the significance of his discovery and the effect will have on the Sedona economy, and later to the Native American community. This fictional short story is about this new partnership with Robin, as they discover energy vortex science, and also the world wide subtle energy healing community. Together they craft a book to introduce the new vortex site to the world. They titled the book - The Sixth Vortex, A new vortex discovery in Sedona.

  • Author: David J. Mackey
  • Published: 2016-03-30 01:20:18
  • Words: 10849
The Sixth Vortex - A new vortex discovery in Sedona The Sixth Vortex - A new vortex discovery in Sedona