On Tuesday we as a nation celebrated Valentines Day. Well, I’m not so sure that we celebrated it, but maybe Hallmark cards created it and we have accepted it as one of the days that we mark on our calendar. Anyway, Nadine and I took the afternoon off to recognize our love for one another by taking some time to be together and decided to go to a place I had never been, Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden. I have lived here 30+ years and have never been to a place that draws thousands of people daily. I have never been into cactus and their beauty, so I have never had a desire to spend hours looking at cactus. For me, when you have seen one cactus, you have seen them all (by the way, I surveyed my friends who have lived in the Phoenix area for years, and none of them had gone to the Desert Botanical Garden either). Nadine had gone a handful of times and wanted to go so off we went.
We got to the place only to find that the $22.00/person was waved because of Valentine Day, so we got in free. We heard of Gertrude’s Cafe right inside the entrance so we stopped to have a bite. The sky was blue with a hint of paper thin clouds off in the distance, topped off with 72 degree weather and a slight breeze rustling the trees. It was a perfect day to look at cacti.
I found out that there are over 1200 different kinds of cacti that I had no idea of. One of the most unique cacti that I saw was the one on the left called the moon cactus. It is like a vine that crawls all over rocks and up trees as in the picture. The more we walked the more I began to appreciate these spiny things that I had seen as only a nuisance in the past. By the time we left, I was interested in coming back to investigate more of what we didn’t have time to see.
The Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden was a hidden treasure for me that I had never investigated in my 30 years of living here. How many of those treasures we miss in our life because we have a preconceived perspective of what it might be and choose over years never to step out and see if our perspective is true or will be blown to smithereens.
On this journey, we will all encounter opportunities to look for hidden treasures. Don’t let assumptions and perspectives cover over those opportunities to see the beauty that God created.