Sunflower as High as an Elephant’s Eye


The legendary 1943 Broadway  musical “Oklahoma” featured the magical Rodgers and Sunflower-to_Sky-1 (1 of 1)Hammerstein hit song Oh What a Beautiful Morning, a tune later made famous by actor/singer Gordon MacRae when the play was adapted into a 1955 Academy Award winning movie.

Even though the play and movie soundtracks predate me by a number of years, they were still popular when I was a youngster. Some of the movie’s most famous song lyrics–“the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye”–keep coming to mind, ironically, when I step into my backyard this summer.  That’s because a sunflower seed I tossed into the garden outside our master bedroom window in February has now grown into a plant that is roughly as high as an elephant’s eye.

Oddly enough, I planted the seed in an attempt to bring a bit of Kansas (the Sunflower State) to Arizona. Because of our family’s Kansas roots, most of the Arizona Gilstraps love sunflowers. The cover photo of our travel book, Being Amanda in Europe, even featured Amanda and a bushel of sunflowers.untitled (295 of 11940)

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I just didn’t anticipate this spectacularly beautiful annual would grow so exceptionally well in the Sororan Desert. Our sunflower plant is now roughly eight feet tall. If it keeps thriving, we’ll look for it to provide ongoing photoremedy, and even PhotoArt, opportunities.

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PhotoArt by Greg

Note: The photoremedy mission is to encourage those fighting chronic pain and other afflictions to consider using photography as a powerful tool to move their focus away from the pain. In the process, we strive to enhance readers’ ability to see beauty and experience elevated joy in their lives. There are many gifts that can accompany health challenges; one of the greatest offerings is it frequently forces sufferers to set better priorities for their lives and assists them in seeing the world in new and more meaningful ways. 

Butterfly Wonderland

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Having our Grandson Emmett all to ourselves for a few hours last week proved to be a great opportunity to check out one of Arizona’s newest attractions – Scottsdale’s Butterfly Wonderland.Butterfly_Atrium-16 (1 of 1)

Butterfly Wonderland features America’s largest butterfly atrium. Butterflies from farmers–as far away as Costa Rica, Malaysia, Ecuador, Thailand and the Philippines–appear to be living the good life inside the 10,000 square foot facility.

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The holometabolous insects are quite friendly. In fact some of them appeared to be quite interested in “dating” Mary, or at least her talking her out of her shirt!Butterfly_Atrium-11mary (1 of 1)

Photo by Mary Gilstrap

Photo by Mary Gilstrap

A specially-edited 3D version of “Flight of the Butterflies” is a can’t miss part of the experience. I must admit I had a hard time following the narration because the 3D butterflyeffects were so captivating I had to keep turning to Mary and Emmett to say, “That is so cool!”

After the movie, 17-month old Emmett was enthralled the minute we hit the conservatory. It captured his attention for good reason. The butterflies were everywhere!

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It didn’t take long for Emmett to decide he was ready to move on. Fortunately, he found other wonders to capture his attention.Emmett_At_BW-2 (1 of 1)

That gave me just a bit more time to enjoy some fabulous photoremedy.Butterfly_Atrium-15 (1 of 1)

All in all, it was a great outing. We hope to be back soon. Perhaps next time we will be able to bring both of the grand kids. I cannot promise it will be twice as much fun, but at least there will be twice as many tiny toes!Looking_Up-1 (1 of 1)