Desert Interlude: Piestewa Peak and Chihuly Glass Gardens

Adopt the pace of nature:  her secret is patience. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the midst of winter chaos we suddenly find ourselves with 24 hours to spend in the desert.

Desert Cactus with Distant Moon

With such a short time to spend we chose two activities.  We explored Piestewa Peak, formerly Squaw Peak, recently renamed to honor the first woman, a Native American, who was sadly killed in the 2003 Iraq war.

Nest of Thorns

The Green Armed Tree

The summit trail is a steep and rocky trail that rises 1.2 miles directly above the plains.  From the summit the brown dry desert colors are interrupted by azure skies.

The Horse-Crippler CactusThorny plants with scary names, such as this Horse-Crippler Cactus, cause us to imagine the dire circumstances that gave rise to this cactus’ name..

Our next stop was the Desert Botanical Gardens.  There were many beautiful gardens but the most captivating “cacti” were the amazing glass Desert Towers by artist Dale Chihuly.

Desert Towers by Dale Chihuly

Desert Towers by Dale Chihuly

Desert Towers by Dale Chihuly

These Towers glisten in the bright desert sun and seem both surreal and an integral part of the natural gardens in which they rest.

Next stop:  New York Botanical Gardens where Dale Chihuly has numerous glass creations throughout several garden areas.   These glass constructions are truly beautiful and really seem almost “natural” in their environment.

I never expected to be so captivated by these modern and “artificial” plants, yet they fit wholly within the landscape, adding rather than detracting from the natural elements.

A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tree Arms

The most striking aspect of the desert is the torch-like sunlight which unapologetically heightens the colors and intensity of every natural object.

This is the antithesis of the “bleak” mid-winter we normally inhabit.

Let Me Count the Days:  Homeschooling is transcending the ordinary at a moments notice.

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