Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tucson II ~ La Paloma ~ GWA Symposium

“The object of education is to teach us to love what is beautiful.” 

Walking straight out from the Patio, this is the view

Symposiums  are the legitimate brain-children  of ancient Greece.  It was at the dawn of civilization near the Mediterranean sea that aristocratic men garbed in garland swathed over their robes reclined on sofas. Their left elbows propping their bodies up as they sipped on wine served by slave boys, the upper class males recited poetry and discussed  the weighty matter of politics.   

Every year the Garden Writer's Association transports it Symposium to another corner of this continent. We members benefit in that we may learn not just from each other, but from the landscape. This year, the local committee arranged for the The Sonoran Desert to teach us that the word desert is about the vastness of space. About the beauty of  breathing room. Neither of which is synonymous with emptiness.

As Lorene Edwards Forkner corresponded about the city  on the edge of one of the great deserts of the world "Tucson was so beautiful in such a raw and rugged way."

Like a raw and rugged man, the Sonoran Desert can be tamed. The emerald greenness of the grass is ever so much more valuable understanding it is couched within the soft brown and olive greens toasting under the intolerant climate of sun, more sun and most sun. 

Seeing the grass at the hotel made me feel better about my own lawn. I sometimes wonder if  mine wont be the last lawn that is neither cemetery nor golf course. 

Love is beautiful. It can be born amongst the cactus as easily as in roses. Midway between Phoenix and Tucson are the Casa Grande Ruins. Here, in the middle of a wailing storm, once stood the leaking tent on the Indian reservation where my mother-in-law  was born. 

She grew up nearby, marrying the man not much wider than a cornstalk who left the Oklahoma farm at  the tender age of 14.  Back in the heartland, Ken heard if a man worked hard, there was honest work to be had in Arizona.  For the first several years he tended beehives. From their God-fearing Christian union came the hardest working man I have ever known- my husband. 

Loving cactus was not a natural inclination. It was one of education. First I acknowledged, begrudgingly, their right to exist. With time and observation, I learned to appreciate the sculptural qualities of linear cactus species. Still, it was a revelation;  these stalks staked to get their posture "right" for the garden. 

Man and God in collaboration. That is the recipe for a very good life.

All writing and images are copyright  protected by Lydia Plunk


OldLady Of The Hills said...

As you know, I LOVE Cactus and find them the most interesting and beautful plants that exist on this planet. "Living Sculpture?....The Desert is filled with their beauty, isn't it...! Lucky You!

Lydia said...

The whole trip I thought of how much you would have enjoyed being there. This series is for YOU!

Oregon Sue said...

You certainly stayed at a beautiful place. xo

Anonymous said...

Yes, it looks like a lovely place. I too love the cactus plant and have several. Would you believe I have had several die? I didn't think you could kill those things but I did!! :(

Looking forward to the rest of the series.
XO Trisha

nikkipolani said...

I LOVE THAT QUOTE. Plato was no dummy ;-) And I love those silhouettes of those trees.