Daily Archives: March 20, 2013

DAY 19 – Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix & Gambling in Maricopa

Tuesday, March 19 – another tourist day for Joan & Dave’s final escape from riding through Phoenix.   This place was amazing.  Established in 1939, 145 acres and over 50,000 plants. And a bonus butterfly house!  I walked 2 miles, read everything & happily took pictures for four hours.

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The day ended on a completely different note.  For our last evening in town, we went to the local casino, where I actually gambled instead of just using the restroom.  I entertained Dave & Phyllis at the poker machine, where I won $11.30.  Really, Phyllis won it for me.  I pushed buttons cluelessly.

DAY 18 – Taliesin West

We determined that staying in Maricopa made sense until Dave finished riding through all the suburban sprawl that is Phoenix.  From where he started in Surprise, that would add up to more than 60 miles!

Monday, March 18, I drove him to Surprise, than headed across town to Scottsdale to visit Taliesin West, the Frank Lloyd Wright home and school of architecture  in the desert.  Getting there turned out to be a challenge.  I trusted Destiny, the GPS, & it took me to a golf course adjacent to the property.  One of those “you can’t get there from here” frustrations.  A local dog walker pointed me in the right directions when I was lost in his neighborhood.  Lesson learned: don’t rely on the gps alone.

I’ve visited Falling Water (the home he designed & built over a waterfall) in Ohiopyle, PA several times and recently read “Loving Frank”, historical fiction that refueled my interest in his work. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check Taliesin West out & wasn’t a bit disappointed. Building Taliesin began in 1937 and finished in 1959. The guy had a remarkable mind & kept working into his 90’s.

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A bit about FLW (from the FLW foundaton website)
Wright’s anchor and muse was Nature, which he spelled with a capital “N.” This was not the outward aspect of nature, but the omnipresent spiritual dimension. He wrote:
Using this word Nature…I do not of course mean that outward aspect which strikes the eye as a visual image of a scene strikes the ground glass of a camera, but that inner harmony which penetrates the outward form…and is its determining character; that quality in the thing that is its significance and it’s Life for us,–what Plato called (with reason, we see, psychological if not metaphysical) the “eternal idea of the thing.” 
Wright himself grew up close to the land and in touch with its creative processes and it gave him constant inspiration for his architecture. He believed architecture must stand as a unified whole, grow from and be a blessing to the landscape, all parts relating and contributing to the final unity, whether furnishings, plantings, or works of art. To materially realize such a result, he created environments of carefully composed plans and elevations based on a consistent geometric grammar, while skillfully implementing the integration of the building with the site through the compatibility of materials, form, and method of construction. Through simplification of form, line, and color, and through the “rhythmic play of parts, the poise and balance, the respect the forms pay to the materials, and the repose these qualities attain to,” Wright created plastic, fluent, and coherent spaces that complement the changing physical and spiritual lives of the people who live in them.

DAY 17 – Old Friends & St. Patrick’s Day in Maricopa, AZ

Who has a friend that they started kindergarten with? I’m lucky enough to be one of that rare breed.  Phyllis & I have been friends for 54 years – started school when Eisenhower was president & graduated from Marquette University in the Bicentennial year – 1976!  She’s been in Arizona since then, but we’ve maintained a great friendship over the years. We just sort of pick up where we left off the last time we’ve been together. The bike route goes through Phoenix so the plan was to visit & stay at her home. Mike, her partner, even rides a unicycle, so he and Dave did the male bonding thing over one wheel.

Sunday we went to breakfast with Phyllis’s son Russell and his family.  I haven’t seen him since he was 16, when they would come to Ohio every summer to visit Phyllis’s mom. It was great to catch up with his adult life Russell & Shelly cooked a corned beef and cabbage dinner and we all ate green pies & cupcakes for dessert. It’s still a little hard to get used to my friends being grandparents.  The grandkids were a lot of fun.  Four year old Aubrey even tried to juggle with Dave’s coaching. Ethan’s a super-reader.

The town we are in is Maricopa, about  20 miles southwest of metropolitan Phoenix.  In 2000 it had less than 2000 people. Now it’s got 44,000+. All the homes are some version of tan stucco. Suburban Phoenix will never catch up to it because  desert & Indian reservations surround it.  John Wayne once owned a ranch here.

Before I sign off, here is a tribute to friendship. One of my favorite songs,            Old Friends, by Guy Clark  www.youtube.com/watch?v=cS6VixNGgqg