The expectation of seeing one's family makes the long trip home easier. The first evening there, those of us in the family who were able to get together, enjoyed dinner out. Job and school obligations prevent all of us from getting together at the same time on this trip, so I'm getting to spend time with my children in smaller groups this time. How wonderful to be able to see them and spend time together!
This is the first trip home in four years that I have not been accompanied by my two kitties. That allowed me to detour through Petrified Forest National Park near the start of my trip. I was amazed by the sight of gigantic petrified logs laying across the desert landscape. The picture does not do justice to the scale of these logs. They are between two and three feet in diameter and the length of the logs is well over 20 feet. The landscape is littered with these in vast quantities. Truely an amazing sight to see.
The colors and shapes of the "Teepees" reminds me of the Badlands of South Dakota. What a stunning array of color exhibited in the rock. Nature's palette never ceases to fill me with awe.
As I drove north through the park, the vast vista of the Painted Desert was accented by clouds and rain on the horizon. The light on the landscape was beautiful! This view looks out nearly 100 miles! Seeing this landscape puts me in mind of Psalm 107:33, 35.
"He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thristy ground, a fruitful
land into a salty waste. ... He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched
land into springs of water."
The vegetation in bloom made a sharp and brilliant contrast to the colors in the soil. The recent "monsoon" rains in northern Arizona have made the plantlife as lush as it can be for this normally dry and harsh climate.
I found the architecture of the Painted Desert Inn to be a perfect accent in the landscape. What a lovely place this is! But as much as I enjoyed the beauty of the desert, the smiling faces of my children and parents have been the highlight of my trip so far!