In September I got to spend a half-day in a place I'd always wanted to visit- the southwestern US! There's a magnetic draw to the heat, desert landscapes, mystical power vortexes, and massive sandstorms of that region. We didn't encounter any vortexes or sandstorms on this visit, but there was plenty of heat and desert to go around.
Even just looking out the hotel window was thrilling :) Palm trees and cacti everywhere! (This was en route to Oregon from Nicaragua, so also heaping praise on what was in the room- a hot shower and a tea maker.)
Beautiful, handcrafted stationary has been arriving in my mailbox for almost 10 years now, courtesy of an artistic penpal named Vesna. Here's are some of her creations. Vesna was kind enough to drive out to the hotel and take me on a mini tour of Phoenix, Arizona. It was pretty surreal to meet someone whose handwriting you know better than their face! ;)
We drove through Gaudalupe, a small town with simple homes and lots of colorful murals.
The sky in Arizona was, wow- overpowering. In Oregon we have so many trees and mountains around that the sky seems smaller. In the desert, there were no distractions, just a bleached landscape and an enormous blue ceiling overhead.
Vesna and I only had a few hours before the flight, so she picked out two fun stops for us: Papago Park and the Desert Botanical Garden.
Papago Park was like something out of a James Rollins book. Surely there was a world-changing secret buried here somewhere... if only we had the treasure map!
In the meantime, instead of chests of gold and biblical secrets, I settled for the cacti. Or cactuses? So cool!
We walked the trail, listening to cicadas. Although it was a weekend, there weren't many people around. Most of the time it was just us, the lizards, and our prized bottles of water that Vesna had brought along.
And then, on to the botanical gardens...