Category Archives: Photo Essay

Walking on Arizona State University Campus

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Walking on Arizona State University Campus

After I climbed “A” Mountain last week, I walked on to nearby ASU. I passed by Tempe City Hall, below. If it looks kind of wonky, it’s because, yes, it’s an inverted pyramid.

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Just north of ASU campus is the Islamic Community Center. See “A” Mountain in the background.

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Look at these lovely street lamps disguised as palm trees:

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I love college campuses. From the time I was a junior in high school and was visiting potential higher education institutions, I’ve felt a distinct energy on campuses, a huge intellectual potential; students and faculty members with so much to offer and explore. I still experience that buzz any time I set foot on college property.

Every college has its Old Main building with a quad out front, and Arizona State University is no exception.

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ASU was founded as a Normal School,  a training college for teachers.

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The University Club is a private club for current and retired faculty, staff, alumni, community and corporate members, who can gather there for weekday lunches and meetings or special events.

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This is the entrance to Hayden Library, which is actually housed underground.

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I have no idea what this tower structure with the steps is, but it provides seating for people to eat lunch or check their phone.DSC03353

ASU’s Herberger Institute School of Music, one of the finest music programs in the country, is housed in this “birthday cake” building. Its architecture blends with the most famous building on campus a mere 100 yards away. . .

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The Grady Gammage Auditorium was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was originally supposed to be constructed in Baghdad, but the deal fell through. When ASU President Grady Gammage contacted Wright about building a concert hall for the University, Wright resurrected these plans. Neither Wright nor Gammage lived to see the building completed.

Besides being used for concerts of the University’s large musical ensembles, the 3,000 seat auditorium also hosts Broadway musical touring companies and many cultural and entertainment events open to the public. (The music building above also has a music theater, a concert hall, and a recital hall.)

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The sweeping ramps from the upper level of the building aid in allowing the audience to exit the building quickly after performances.

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ASU also has its own Art Museum.

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The Tempe main campus of ASU covers 661 acres and serves over 42,000 students. It is the fourth largest university in the US. I only photographed a few of the buildings, then headed to the light rail station (a 15 minute walk) for the ride home.

Hiking in South Mountain Park, Phoenix

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Hiking in South Mountain Park, Phoenix

My daughter Carly spent seven and a half weeks in Israel last year, six of those weeks in Hebron (I guess, technically, in Palestine) studying Arabic. She wants to go back this summer, and suggested I go, too. It’s been on my bucket list for thirty years.

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Carly warned me, “I don’t understand how this is possible, but I swear every street in Bethlehem is uphill.” I promised her I’d train. I’ve been walking the treadmill at an incline, and I will gradually increase my speed and my height. A friend who’s been to Israel recommended bringing a trekking pole for uneven ground and cobblestones.

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Working out on the treadmill is nice, but maybe it’s not realistic. I bought some hiking boots and a trekking pole and headed out to South Mountain Park.

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South Mountain Park/Preserve is one of the largest municipal parks in the United States. It encompasses more than 16,000 acres at the southern edge of Phoenix, Arizona.

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I used to drive up to the summit of the park with my children when they were young. There’s a cabin-like structure at the top where you can sit, eat a picnic lunch, and enjoy a panoramic view of the entire “Valley of the Sun.” But I’d never hiked there, except for one brief excursion with my kids when they begged to go home after 15 minutes.

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So, now I’m a sixty-six year old beginning hiker with two artificial hips. With the help of Hike Phoenix, I determined that the Kiwanis Trail would be a good place to start.

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Thursday late morning I parked my car at the trailhead and looked around. If you follow ARHtistic License, you may have caught on that I love the desert. It’s so much greener than I’d expected when we moved here from New Jersey. I love the rugged rockiness of the desert mountains.

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There’s a profound silence in the park, except for the chirping of birds. And the sounds of the jets en route to and from Sky Harbor International Airport, not too far away. And barrages of gunfire from a nearby shooting range. And the disconcerting buzzing of bees busy pollinating the yellow brittlebush and taking detours around my head.

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In the 1990s, Africanized honeybees invaded Arizona, and from time to time we heard reports of people and dogs being severely stung and even killed by swarms of the bees in Arizona, and at least one in South Mountain Park. Not so much lately, though.

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I discovered I really like the trekking pole. It helped stabilize me on the steeper sections of the trail, and even a gentle push on the pole helped boost me up a big step. I will definitely take it to Israel.

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Even though there were quite a few cars in the parking lot, I didn’t see many people on the trail. Part of that might be due to the fact I was there on a weekday; also, I brought my camera with me, and I stopped every few feet to take another picture. The desert looks different every time you change your perspective.

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At one point, all I could see ahead of me was a jumble of rocks. Uh oh, I’ve lost the trail. But a couple steps later, I saw it again. I guess my stature of five feet nothing was to blame for my limited vision.

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I never reached the end of the trail. After forty minutes, I decided I’d had enough for the day and turned around.

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I found coming down the trail more challenging than going up. Again, my trekking pole helped me keep my balance while stretching beyond my normal stride, and kept me from stumbling when my heel caught an outcropping or I landed on a lose rock and almost twisted my ankle. I made it back to the car in twenty-five minutes, taking few pictures on the way down because I needed to concentrate on my footing. (I ended up with a total of 95 shots!)

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I will definitely be going back, without my camera next time. I want to enjoy the hiking without any distractions. I am so blessed to be able to immerse myself in the beauty of the desert.

Christmas at Niels Petersen House

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Christmas at Niels Petersen House

I first visited the historic Niels Petersen House in Tempe, Arizona, in the early 1990s. When I stepped into the kitchen, I was hit with a wave of déjà vu. I realized it reminded me of the farmhouse my Uncle Hughie grew up in. (Click the smaller images to enlarge and to view captions.)

 

I recently visited again. In December, the house is decorated for Christmas.

 

 

Niels Petersen, the original owner of the house, was born on October 21, 1845, in Denmark. He served in the English Merchant Marines from 1863-1870, allowing him to travel the world until he decided to immigrate to the United States.

 

In 1871, Petersen arrived in the Salt River Valley of central Arizona, where he staked a homestead claim and begin farming. Four years later, in 1878, Petersen became a United States citizen and subsequently filed a homestead entry, the next step in permanently establishing himself in the valley. The final action in this process was the filing of a homestead proof, providing evidence that improvements to the land had been made by the claimant, which Petersen filed on May 12, 1883. By the time of his final homestead filing, Petersen had built two small adobe houses on the property and maintained 140 acres in cultivation.

 

Petersen acquired more property surrounding his homestead claim. His ranch grew to more than 1,000 acres and Petersen emerged as one of the area’s leading producers of cattle and grain.

By the 1890s, Petersen emerged as one of the Salt River Valley’s wealthiest and most revered citizens. In 1892, he made the decision to construct a new two-story brick home, in the Queen Anne Victorian style, hired Architect James Creighton to design it. Petersen’s house was widely considered one of the most elegant homes in the region.

 

Petersen married twice. His first wife died in childbirth and their son died in infancy. His second wife did not bear any children.

 

After Petersen’s death, the property passed to a distant relative, Rev. Edward Decker. He modified the house somewhat, including adding its one and only bathroom.

 

Only one more family ever lived in the house. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The city of Tempe acquired it in 1979 and restored it.

 

The Niels Petersen House will be open to the public this weekend, December 15 and 16, 2018, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. For more information, click here.

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Photographs by ARHuelsenbeck.

Walking in Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

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Sunday was my birthday, and last Saturday my daughter Katie took me to Boyce Thompson Arboretum. A forty-five-minute drive from her home, the Arboretum is surrounded by desert.

It’s close to Tonto National Forest and I expected there would be lots of trees. (Click on the smaller images to enlarge and scroll through.)

But there’s so much more. Cacti, succulents, and flowers that thrive in the desert:

Roses! and butterflies:

Sculptures and benches and structures from which to rest and enjoy the view:

And speaking of views, you can see mountains from the trails.

 

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Katie

 

I love the desert, and Boyce Thompson Arboretum shows off its beauty. We saw only a small portion of the park during the hours we were there, but Katie is a member of the Arboretum and promised me I can visit any time I want as her guest. We’ll be back soon.

Creative Juice #114

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Creative Juice #114

Oh, the web is full of joy and beauty…

Canaan in the Desert

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Canaan in the Desert

Like an oasis in the desert, Canaan in the Desert offers refreshment, though of a different kind. Yes, there’s water, but also quiet, and beauty, and reminders of God’s great love for us. Canaan in the Desert is a prayer garden in northern Phoenix, Arizona, run by the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, an order of Lutheran nuns started in Germany in 1947.

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The deserts of the Holy Land and of Arizona are situated on different continents, but at similar latitudes, so the climate and the vegetation are somewhat similar. It’s possible to pretend you’re walking where Jesus walked as you visit the garden. (Click on the smaller photographs to enlarge them.)

 

The first stop is the Bethlehem grotto, recalling Christ’s birth.

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But Bethlehem was soon a dangerous place for the Baby. His foster father, Joseph, received a warning in a dream to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt.

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Perhaps they traveled along terrain like this:

 

We fast-forward to end of Jesus’ earthly ministry. After His last supper with His disciples, He invited them to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray with Him.

 

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But the disciples could not stay awake.

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Gethsemane is also known as the garden of olives. Fittingly, an olive tree overhangs the sculpture of the praying Jesus.

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While Jesus is praying, Roman soldiers enter the garden. After Judas betrays the Lord with a kiss, the soldiers arrest Jesus and take Him to Pilate.

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Pilate orders Him beaten. . .

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. . . and the soldiers mock him and crown him with thorns.

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Though Pilate tries to convince the Pharisees to let Jesus go, they demand His crucifixion.

 

But the Good News is, His death is not the end of the story.

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At each location in the garden is a bench so you can sit awhile and meditate on the scene before you. Also, scattered around the garden are little boxes filled with devotional materials to help lead you into prayer:

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Plaques quoting scripture and sayings of M. Basilea Schlink, one of the founders of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, dot the garden.

 

Jesus, the Good Shepherd:

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And a little more of the wild desert beauty:

 

Canaan in the Desert is a lovely place to rest and pray. I enjoyed my time here last week, my second visit; I plan to come regularly.

Now it’s your turn. Have you ever been to Canaan in the Desert or another place that drew you close to God? Share in the comments below.

Ethnic Costumes

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Ethnic Costumes

One of my favorite aspects of folk dancing is seeing authentic folk costumes. Many folk dancers own costumes from their family heritage of from countries they’ve visited. Since I’m the offspring of German parents, I bought myself a dirndl from Germany. In the picture below, taken at the 2015 Phoenix Folk Dance Festival, I’m standing in the front row in the center wearing the mostly black dress. Others are wearing costumes from all over or contemporary United States casual attire.2015 Phoenix Folk Dance Festival

Many folk costumes from Europe feature colorful embroidery. An example of Ukranian clothing:

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Queen Elisabeta of Romania. Notice that she is spinning wool with a drop spindle.

Queen Elisabeta of Romania

A Polish folk dance troupe:

 

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Photo by Felouch Kotek, used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

 

Macedonian females:

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Albanian men:

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Serbian costumes:

Serbian folk dancers

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A warrior costume from Indonesia:

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Some of the above photographs I took myself, and others I found on Wikipedia. It’s hard to find lots of photos that don’t require a permissions process, but I do have a board of folk dance costumes on Pinterest, if you’d like to see more.