Sometimes while heading off on one field trip, I buzz by something that catches my eye. Often, I continue driving on my way as I contemplate whether or not I missed something that I will regret later.
Last week I was driving down Bell Road in the Woodridge area of Phoenix and I passed these large fabulous grey-green colored tree canopies that had the most crazy pink/peach clouds of fluff in them. It was hard to make out the tree blossoms at 45mph. As I continued on my way west, those distinct colors gnawed at me. Quickly I made a u-turn and headed back…knowing I would hate myself if I didn’t go back.
I quickly parked my car at a curbside, grabbed my camera, and skipped my way along the sidewalk of the very busy street. As I approached the tree my eyes widened in disbelief. I had never seen anything like these flower clusters raining down in pendulous bunches. I only had time to snap a few images and make sure to record the location for follow-up when I had the appropriate amount of time to dedicate to this horticultural goddess!
I counted the minutes for the next two days until my schedule opened enough for the time to get back to her. I ran back with a full camera battery and plenty of memory card space. During my time away, I also had done some research to initially discover it was a Eucalyptus tree. Days later I discovered it was now called a Red Gum – Corymbia ficifolia (formerly Eucalyptus ficifolia) to be specific. And there are actually FOUR trees in the parkway along Bell Road!
I pointed my eager camera up into the canopy and began snapping from every possible angle! Just then a very tall young guy came walking up. Have you ever realized when someone sees you looking up they tend to also look up? Anyway, this guy starts looking up and asks me if I am making art. I holster my camera and begin to rattle off all that I have recently learned about this tree and how rare it is to see them here in the desert in bloom. As I continued on, my new buddy’s wide open eyes now resemble mine and he actually seems a wee bit taller. In our conversation he shares that he grew up right around the corner and has passed these trees almost every day for years. In all that time, he admits, he never noticed these ping pong ball sized blooms nor has he paid attention to these trees. He thanked me for teaching him something new! I noticed a little skip in his step when he walked away and it reminded me how great it feels to discover and learn!
A large part of my art is to show and share things that most of us would just pass by and never really see. Some of the things I interpret and paint…and others I chronicle in photos. Receiving the confirmation from a stranger is the best feeling of all.
Posted while on a creative adventure!