Heaven on earth

Today I found myself smiling at nothing, staring at the sky and being sincerely grateful for a three-day weekend. I was in desperate need for a recharge. It’s been three days of bliss, but today was particularly sweet. I have an assignment for the local newspaper to write an article on prickly pear harvesting and decided to take a formal class at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. I’d been there once a few years ago and truly enjoyed the walks through varying gardens. I knew today would be no different.

Annual sale
Desert Xeriscape
Ice plant succulent
Shark jaws

It took about 45 minutes to arrive, although it would have been much faster if I hadn’t taken so much time to gawk at the beauty of the Superstitions. From Tempe, this mountain range is hazy and towering. Up close, it is a majestic giant that I couldn’t get enough of. The purple and red rock faces, the soft green cacti, the flowering desert due to recent rains — all perfectly framed with giant soft cuddly white clouds and a crisp blue sky. It was truly ethereal.

beautiful succulent
spiky green wonder
Greenhouse full of delicate cacti

The class was fantastic too. More than 60 people crammed into a pavillion to see how to harvest prickly pear tunas and their pads to be used in a variety of recipes. I’m going to use several of these for future Jars of Renewal projects, hopefully including the prickly pear syrup for margaritas. Eating locally can be delicious even in the desert.

Americans just say prickly pear
Split prickly pear tuna (fruit)
Gorgeous, deep garnet color
I bought wild rhubarb jam

My perfect day — time to reconnect with nature, listen and sing along to super music, eat a great picnic lunch, photograph and write, learn something new, connect with other happy hippies and time to blog. Life truly is great.