Thursday, January 18, 2007
In Retrospect: the Best of 2006
The temperature has been hovering in the single digits this past week. My oldest daughter pulled out some of her pictures from our Arizona vacation, taken last March. Warm memories!
The children each brought home a cactus as a souvenir. There were so many to choose from! For me, it was almost as much fun making a list of cactus names: Monkey Tail, Hedgehog, Brain plant, Mother-in-law's tongue, Pincushion, Barrel, Dead Man's Fingers, Turk's Cap, Pregnant Onion, Pencil Plant, Dutchman's Pipe. The names are all so appropriately descriptive!
Of course, the large saguaros are also endlessly fascinating. We had to pull over to the roadside several time so that the children could snap photos. Edwin Way Teale writes about these "water towers of the desert" in his book Wandering Through Winter:
"It is these giant cacti (saguaros) that come first to mind when we remember southern Arizona.
Each column that towered above us was, in effect, an expandable storage tank. The accordianlike pleats that run vertically up the side of a saguaro enable it to expand or contract, to increase or decrease its circumference. The cactus becomes more slender in times of drought, more plump when rain has fallen. Its spongelike tissues have enormous capacity for holding liquids. A large saguaro may collect as much as a ton of water from a single rain."
A Christian could easily find a sermon in this natural wonder, but Teale rarely moralizes. He allows nature to make its own indelible mark on the human soul. A wise teacher lets the student come to his or her own conclusions, don't you think? That is why I enjoy Teale's writing so much.