Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Road Less Traveled

This last week was a busy one...I worked, was down sick one day, working the next, and leaving the very next for a friends wedding reception in Arizona. I'm sure we all go through the same thing when we leave; that check-list that needs to be completed by the time you leave your house and know it will be several days before you return here again! It's long, complicated and somewhat daunting, but we always seem to complete it just enough to be comfortable leaving. That is where I finally found myself Thursday night. We left in the wee hours of the morning on Friday and didn't return home until Monday night. That may not seem like that long, but I was trying to finish things up so that our house-sitter (our cousin!) could have a place to stay and babysit our cats and pups in a somewhat stress-free environment (in-other-words I didn't want to leave him with a disaster to work around ;-) So, we did the best we could and threw the rest up in the air and attributed it's slightly unwelcome presence to 'life.'

Our trip was easy; we had a few delays coming and returning but nothing that affected the rest of our travel days! We were blessed!!

Once in Phoenix, we drove to Scottsdale, where the wedding reception was being held. I was somewhat looking forward to some sun and warm weather - central Oregon was getting freezing rain, temperatures below 20 degrees, and icy winds - but what greeted us was only half of my vision. The weather was warm, yes...probably mid to high 60's. But the sun was not something we saw much of. It rained, and poured, for the majority of the trip. But I am in no way complaining! Even the warm rain was a welcome change to what we've been experiencing, and we made the most of it!! We explored several tourist spots in the pouring rain and had a chance to hike around a beautiful wildlife preserve!

This was trip to celebrate friends...but I also had an opportunity to experience and venture into a different part of the country, absorbing all of the natural beauty it so perfectly provided! I saw plants I've never seen before, landscapes that were so picturesque I thought they belonged in an art gallery or on a movie, and life that was unique to the desert landscape. Jack rabbits sprang from beneath the hedges and darted to the next brush section as we trudged through the landscape! It was amazing!

Having grown up in Oregon's valley, I'm so used to the green and lush landscape that constant rain and moderate temperatures provide. Having moved to the high desert five years ago, I have come to appreciate a drier and slightly browner landscape. However, I don't think it was until this last trip into the Arizonan desert that I can truly remark on its magnificent, perfect, and breathtaking landscape. The cacti, shrubs, trees, mountains, rain patterns, heat, wildlife, and more, have all adapted beautifully to their surroundings. I would literally stand in awe as I gazed upon the brilliantly colored spikey cacti that stood alone in the red-clay soil.

We had an opportunity to do a little geocaching on our free time! We were excited, to highlight another state on our map, yes, but to also take a moment to just get off the beaten path and see more of the "life" of Scottsdale. We hiked around the McDowell Sonoran Preserve which was absolutely pulchritudinous! It had just rained that morning, so the puddles and freshly dampened earth aroma were prolific. As the sun peaked it shining face from behind the thunder clouds, it illuminated the dark clouds that hovered low over the surrounding mountains. It was a picture out of Jurassic Park (which by the way, I LOVE!!!) and I literally had to take a moment and pause, for me. I wanted to be in this statuesque place...and for the next few minutes I was awestruck, fulfilled, and thankful to be a part of this world. I could see the work of God in everything I gazed upon!

On our return home, I have a greater appreciation for things outside of my perceived magnificent habitat. Compared to the desert of Arizona, my landscape is lush, I have a large and bountiful garden each spring/summer/fall, and my surroundings are so full of diverse vegetation! I also have a strong desire to start my garden as well! This trip has re-ignited my gardening fire! I have been consumed with the desire to get out into my garden since I stepped foot in Oregon.

So my solution: I have been thumbing through my new heirloom seed catalogue and began preparing to start my spring veggies. They will be the Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, Bok Choy, cauliflower, onions, and whatever else I stumble upon that needs a little head-start for my early spring bounty! I have them out and I hope to plant a few tomorrow. I'll keep you updated!

But our spring gardens are right around the corner and so is the summer. I will be starting my tomatoes soon (since our growing season is so short, I start my tomato plants in February along with my squash and lettuces) and I can't wait to get back out there and work in my garden!!

This trip has awakened in me something that goes dormant each winter, and a quest for ALL things beautiful, not just the normal. I long to get back outside and put my hands in the soil. I cant wait for the gardening season to resume; it'll be glorious!

These are just my thoughts and desires. What are yours for this time of year? What plans are you hoping to put into motion or goals for this year you are hoping to accomplish? I love hearing what you all are up to so please share with us!!


 A special moment with my family!

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