Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.


Last December, an old (as in long-time) friend and her son came to Phoenix and we were able to get together for a nice visit. We toured one of my favorite spots here — the Desert Botanical Gardens. I have shared many beautiful scenes from the DBG but never before have I seen this view with snow in the mountains northeast of the valley. Beautiful.

The DBG often has artistic works in the garden such as when Dale Chihuly exhibited his large and beautiful glass work in amongst the desert flora. (In case anyone is interested in revisiting those wonderful artistic pieces which were displayed in 2009, click here, here, here, here, here and/or here.)

On this occasion, they were featuring Big Bugs. Sculptor David Rogers carefully created these creatures from fallen or found wood, cut saplings, twigs, raw branches, twine, bark and other natural materials. The sculptures weigh from 300 to 1,200 pounds and range from seven feet to 25 feet long. Fun for kids of all ages!

Here, a dragonfly.

One hillside looked like one of those old science fiction flicks — the Attack of the Giant Ants. Although this view only shows the leader, there were more in the area and they certainly looked menacing.

Not so menacing was a graceful damselfly. They eat flies, mosquitoes and other small insects. I felt safe.

I have shared many photos of the plants in the garden so I did not intend to bore you with repetition but this Boojum Tree was fully leafed out — a somewhat rare occasion — so I had to share. This tree, if you recall, is unusual in that its branches are pencil thin and that it loses its leaves when there is a lack of rain. When the rain does come, it quickly shoots out new leaves only to lose them again when it turns dry.

Watch out for the spider web.

And the spider.

More menacing was the Daddy Long-Legs. He looked ready to gobble us up.

We actually took a tour with a docent who was quite knowledgeable (as they should be). This one gave us much interesting information about the Aloe Vera plant — and its many uses. A nice break from dodging menacing insects.

Turn the corner and come face to face with an Assassin Beetle. They use a long rostrum to inject a lethal saliva that liquefies the insides of its prey — which is then sucked out.

Moving right along, we encountered a Preying Mantis (although some folks call it a "Praying Mantis"). Ordinarily he would look quite menacing but the Santa cap reduces his threat level.

As we left the garden, Esther's son took this shot of two old friends. Funny how even though many years pass between such visits, it is always good to get together and revisit old times — as well as sharing new experiences.


Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com