Chihuly Magic in the Desert

IMG_6419I had a tranquil New Year’s Eve, wandering alone (amidst a crowd of thousands) in the Desert Botanical Gardens. Las Noches de las Luminarias is a beautiful holiday tradition here in the Arizona desert as the gardens are transformed for 31 days by the bright tiny spark of twinkling lights adorning the desert trees and the soft glow from 8,000 hand-lit Luminaria bags lining the walkways. This year, the desert plants were accentuated by the magic of Chihuly glass sculptures.

A starburst of blazing blue captures the guests' attention as they enter the park.

A starburst of blazing blue captures the guests’ attention as they enter the park.

I spent a long time with each sculpture, partly because I searched for angles to photograph, but mostly because they are beautiful, whimsical, and fantastical. It was good that I was alone because I would have annoyed anyone with me by my dawdling.

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I am pretty sure that these pieces represent flowers and cacti (need to do some research), but they feel like snakes…beds of brilliantly beautiful snakes.

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Sunday Post: Attraction

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Prickly Pear Cactus

It’s always fun to respond to Jakesprinter’s Sunday Post. Click on this link to see the many creative responses to his challenge to represent the idea of attraction.

We are attracted to many things. Google quotes about attraction and you will find the overwhelming majority refer to that mysterious magnetic relationship between two people. But aren’t we also attracted to our child’s giggle, our grandmother’s biscuits, our best friend’s laugh, our dog’s antics? What about the brilliant sunset or the crash of ocean waves or the piece of rich dark chocolate?

I am, of course, attracted to certain people, but nature captures my attention as well. I am attracted to flowers, especially yellow flowers, and I was rewarded with these beauties which I found today at the Desert Botanical Gardens, which is a Tourist Attraction.

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Prickly Pear Cactus

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Prickly Pear Cactus

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Columbine

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Palo Verde Tree

Las Noches de las Luminarias

I’ve lived in the Phoenix area for more than 25 years, and each year I’ve promised myself that I would get to Las Noches de las Luminarias (literally, The Nights of The Lights) at the Desert Botanical Gardens.

The powerful saguaro appears to guard the adobe house decorated with luminaries.

The powerful saguaro appears to guard the adobe house decorated with luminarias.

Two nights ago, I kept my promise. At first I was disappointed that I could find no one to go with me, but, once there, I was thankful for the chance to wander alone through the paths lit with the soft glow of more that 8,000 hand-light luminarias and thousands of twinkling white lights.

I was delighted by the sounds of jazz, blues, flamenco guitar, didgeridoo, and a hand-bell choir, along with stories told by a Native American storyteller. I finished my evening with a hand-warming cup of hot chocolate and more jazz in the garden.

And of course, because this is a post about The Nights of The Lights and because I love taking shots of the moon, I must include the picture I took last night of the most magnificent Light of the Night, the last full moon of 2012. (Click on any image for descriptions and slideshow.)