“Deserts require a different pace. They compel an adjustment on our part to understand and experience them.” (from the info board at the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center)
The land and sky are laid out in front of me. Simple but massive. I am in awe. I feel just as magnificent as the landscape, just being. I have this realization that I’m related to it, and I instantly love it like family.
“Wow,” escapes my lips in a sigh.
It was an unexpected love. When you say “I’m going to the desert,” for the first time, you don’t have a richness of expectations. I mean, it’s the desert. Hot. Dry. Probably snakes. I was pleasantly surprised at what I found for myself: an oasis of inspiration! A sensory feast! The colors, the quiet, the vastness was a very different kind of euphoria that I never knew I always longed for. My enthusiasm took a very different shape as well. The heat made it hard to react effervescently, but I could feel my heart swell; slowly and expansively, like a morning stretch.
It was early enough that Friday morning that there was no sound in the desert, and no one to be seen. No one. Joshua Tree was mine, and only mine, it seemed. As far across the desert valley as my vision would allow. Only the brave desert vegetation, rocks descendant from the earth formations around them, and soft but mighty ridges of the surrounding mountain ranges along the far edges of sight, hazed by the heat and distance from where I stood… and me. Joshua Tree and me.
Oh, yeah, and my husband, too. Thanks for driving, Mike. 🙂
Nevertheless, I really feel like I came away from the desert with a quenched spirit, runneth over with the water and life that I have never associated with a dry, lifeless place. Neither of those words describe the desert. And I understand that now. I’ve been drawing and dreaming of the desert ever since.