I'm taking a long-awaited rest from my book-related tasks, although I continue to connect my debut book with what is happening around me. That has always been my goal. This week, I'm retreated to a place that has a minuscule history - that is, compared to San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago and Boston. What I'm discovering this week is the many-varied natural treasures of the arid landscape, primarily in Phoenix, which resides in the Sonoran Desert.
Did you know each of the four deserts in Arizona (the only state to have four) - the Great Basin, Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave as their own signature cactus? Remember that fact in cast you come across a trivia question on the topic! Below is the Sonoran brand - the mighty Saguaro. It's the cactus I guarantee most people recall when they think of the American West.
Below are the photos I shot at the Desert Botanical Garden. Before stepping foot on the property over 15 years ago, I thought cacti were boring. Of course, coming from the Midwest, where Kmart offers between five and ten varieties of cacti in tiny plastic containers, that is understandable. But here, I discovered over 50 more, and it wouldn't surprise me if the count was higher. The variances in hue, shape, height and growing patterns were awe-inspiring. And, since most of the flowering happens between February and April, there were still a few blooms to be admired.
Just look at the variety - doesn't it amaze you? I think our Creator had fun designing these! Scroll through the slideshow below to see more. . .
There is death, sad to say, in the desert as well, which is no surprise. But even the skeletons of cacti have a certain beauty. What do you think?
I rarely take selfies, but, decided to try it this time. Being out in the sun, I couldn't see the screen, so I had to wait until I was back at my room before peeking at them. Imagine my shock to discover it was a good one, despite the finger which got in the way of the camera's eye. I look rested already, and I've only been here two full days! And thankfully, my swollen knee is getting a reprieve as well. I think the dry heat is agreeing with it.
Since I have no vehicle, I decided to venture out on the Valley Metro System, taking advantage of the bus and light rail, which you see below. Monday, I went East on the rail (one hour each way) passing the airport, a community college, the stadium, and what appeared to be a Native American community.
Today, (after two buses), I took the light rail West, through Tempe and Mesa. ASU is an enormous campus of plain stucco buildings spanning three or more stops on the light rail. I stopped at the historic Mill St., where in the 1800's a flour mill existed. A nice woman on the rail told me Tempe was founded by the Mormons, and was the first city in this area. It is now the hot spot for Arizona State University student. It definitely had a "western" flair. Take a look below. By the way, did I tell you there is a diverse population in this tri-city area? I have found everyone to be extremely friendly. They even thank the bus drivers before getting off!
Another tidbit of info - since it's so hot here, (it was 101 today) many restaurants have spray mists to keep the patrons cool. So clever! Don't you just love the name of these restaurants? There is not one older building to be found. All are modern, plain and functional, but definitely not what I call beautiful, which is one reason I love history. Even so, I had much to ponder on my short tour for $2 a day. Yep. You heard right!
I'm sure you knew I couldn't resist a photo of my debut book next to a cactus. This beauty is called "Desert Rose". It occurred to me that would be an apt name for my MC, Miriam, whose story took place in the Syrian Desert. What do you think?
Speaking of debut authors -- The Heart Changer has 21 reviews right now on Amazon. Can you help me reach 25? If you have read my story, please give me an honest review on Amazon, (most important) Goodreads, Barnes and Noble and/or Bookbub. You can copy and paste the same review to all the online sites. Easy-peasy! I'd sure appreciate it!
And if you have purchased it, make sure you download The Heart Changer's theme song here.
Have you been to a desert? If so, what did you find most interesting?? Tell me below . . .
My MG Biblical fiction "The Heart Changer" debuted in 2019 with Ambassador International.