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TerryRoars

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Desert Surprise


Mom and I took a trip last weekend to the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden to see the annual "Spring Blooms at the Garden" event. We have been getting a fair amount of rain, (for Phoenix) this winter, so we thought we'd catch a nice display of wildflowers. As you've read in my previous posts, Mom is still recovering from not one, but two traumatic head injuries. She's getting better all the time, but so far has not shown much interest in outdoor walking excursions like these. This time though, the lure of desert wildflowers, a perfect sunny day after cold, blustery ones, and a promise not to walk too hard or long was just the right combo to get her out of the house and into the desert.

The wildflowers were certainly nice—though the roadsides in Phoenix right now are nearly as colorful—but the big surprise was the Butterfly Pavilion! Steve and I have been to one of these in Victoria, BC Canada, but I didn't expect to see one here. Like the Hummingbird enclosure at the Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson, the enclosure puts you amongst a captured crowd of the star specimens.

It was magical: at first while standing in line, Mom didn't seem particularly interested—especially when a young toddler in front of us decided it was time to lose his top and throw a tantrum (I'm sure unexpected heat and midday exhaustion played a role). But, we didn't get 3 feet past the entrance before Mom was absolutely enthralled! I loved watching her get more and more into it as we observed and pointed out all the different species. She even remembered the names of some of them from a little "butterfly bingo" card we'd studied before we entered. This was the type of study exercise she has to do at home every day, but it hardly felt like study here!

She had brought along a camera, and the moment a large yellow swallowtail landed on my hand and wouldn't leave, she whipped it out and started shooting. She said he was all dressed up in his Tux and asking me out on a date.

The beautiful little pieces of color were all over us, and not at all afraid. We observed them flying in haphazard bunches, fluttering alone, drinking at the pond, sucking nectar from fruits in dishes, and sunbathing on a rock. One especially ragged little guy was labeled "rode hard and put away wet" by Mom. What a giggle we had.

We stayed inside longer than either of us expected, truly enjoying the feeling that we were witness to a kind of "fairy dance." They were, of course, absolutely silent, fluttering like fall leaves everywhere. Even the tantrum thrower quieted down as the magic of the place became apparent. Everyone seemed to feel the same way, expressing great surprise at the calming effect the butterfly exhibit had on them.

Afterwards, a very nice lady suggested we two pose behind the "butterfly board" for a silly picture. What a nice way to spend my Sunday with Mom. I hope she remembers it.

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