The Arizona desert offers a plethora of opportunities to connect with the beauty and healing property of nature. On a recent afternoon east on highway 60 I headed to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, AZ. A longing for sanctuary from my routine, I set out to refresh my soul by soaking up the beauty of the Sonoran desert.
The daily grind serves its purpose. In the city we move from task to task in nearly robotic states. Dates and deadlines are met. And task are completed or, at least, attempted. So things get done and so goes our lives. The hustle and bustle complements the activity. The hum of traffic, boom boxes, social chatter set the rhythm and tone of our days. We greet people, fill up the gas tank, wind through rush hour traffic to our homes at night and repeat the same routine with the sun up.
An afternoon mindfully spent at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum is an opportunity to get back in touch with our true nature. Walking amid the unspoiled gifts of nature, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face and breathing in the scent of nature allows for balance to return. The mind is quiet and a peaceful moment is gained.
The Arboretum saddles Queen Creek at the base of the Picket Post mountain range. At a 2400 ft. elevation this living museum is a welcome reprieve from the lower desert floor of Phoenix 55 miles to the west. Whether you go to escape the unforgiving desert heat or are intrigued by the awesome beauty of desert vegetation a glimpse of serenity will be achieved.
The Arboretum calls itself a “320 acre classroom”. Numerous educational classes are offered - everything from photography, gourd art and pomegranate harvesting. Guided nature walks such Plants of the Bible, and Edible and Medicinal Plants, tree and dragonfly tours are held regularly; other special events such as the Flower Show and Chocolate Tasting and the Herb festivals are great day trip getaways.
Completing my afternoon down one of the many trails at the Arboretum I found myself at a labyrinth, a rock maze washed by the fading afternoon sun. Taking in the moment I basked in quiet reflection and was inspired by the solitude and beauty. Following the path to the center and back out reminded me of what is really important and the blessings that are mine.
It is in our nature to repeat patterns. Thoughtless coming and going can become our habit and our destiny. A break in the routine and reminder of our connectedness to all living things restores us back to our true selves. Balancing that which must get done and that which rejuvenates the soul is necessary.