Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

LUMI 2007
Lighted tree and bridge
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas — or so the song goes. And in Phoenix, we don't get that nip in the air nor can we see our breath — but we do have ZooLights and Las Noches de las Luminarias. ZooLights are billions and billions of miniature lights decorating the Zoo — well, maybe not billions but it seems like that many. I have visited ZooLights a number of years past and it is enjoyable — perhaps more so for the kids. I am certain that there are kids who grew up in Phoenix and for them, ZooLights is their fondest memory of Christmas past.
Lighted pathway
But for this adult, I vote for Las Noches de las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden. Long time readers of Life After HP will probably recall previous stories about it. However, for the newbies — Luminarias are lunch-size bags each weighted with sand or rocks and containing a lighted candle. At the Desert Botanical Garden (one of my favorite spots during the daytime), each Christmas season, they light the paths with thousands of luminarias plus thousands of miniature lights in the trees to supplement the normal nighttime landscape lighting.

If that were all, it would be a little flat — but also, there is music — live music being performed at various spots around the gardens. And since strolling the grounds listening to music can make one thirsty and hungry they offer food and drink, for a price. In fact, you can get a complete meal — a nice buffet — or just snacks to go with your warm (preferably) beverage.

Each year the music changes. My first visit I encountered a Native American musician playing flutes he made out of bamboo from Sedona. Different size flutes had different tonal ranges. But how cool to hear that lovely melodious sound drifting over the native plans and landscape of the Sonoran Desert. [I just noticed that the DBG website says he is performing again this year, although I somehow missed him.]

I also recall a couple playing accordion and tuba. Sounds strange but it worked. There was also a fine jazz ensemble as well as bell ringers. This year the bell ringers are young — but also quite talented.

For me, the one performer that really stood out was a female jazz vocalist by the name of Khani Cole. I could have listened to her all night — she was great.

This year, I made a more concerted effort to take night photos. For me, photos taken after dark have a certain magic about them — I hope you find them magical too. Time for me to stop writing and let the photos do the talking — enjoy.
Rooftop luminarias

Rooftop luminarias.
Single luminaria

Single luminaria.
Luminarias on a wall

Luminarias on a wall.
Streaking lights.

Where did this come from?
Luminarias and cactus

Luminarias and cactus.

Alien Tree

Alien tree?
Xmas Tree

Xmas Tree.

One note of concern — a friend told me that they are planning to not have live music next year. Say it ain't so! That is really part of the charm of the event. Maybe they will change their mind about that — as a member of the DBG, I will certainly lobby on behalf of live music.

But don't take a chance — if you live in the Phoenix area, get your tickets, bundle up and go. You will experience a wonderful evening in a magical place.

 Life is good.

 B. David