“Time and space. In the desert there is space. Space is the twin sister of time. If we have open space then we have open time to breathe, to dream, to dare, to play, to pray to move freely, so freely, in a world our minds have forgotten but our bodies remember. Time and space. This partnership is holy. In these redrock canyons, time creates space--an arch, an eye, this blue eye of sky. We remember why we love the desert; it is our tactile response to light, to silence, and to stillness."
-Terry Tempest Williams
For a little reflection after a busy summer working in the redwoods, my husband Orion and I traveled down to Joshua Tree National Park for the first time. We both share a special love for the desert (we spent our honeymoon at Zion National Park in Utah); so we had a hunch that we'd be inspired and refreshed by the acrobat armies of Yucca trees and the open, star-filled skies. As we ventured down the PCH, we listened to First Aid Kit's new album "Stay Gold," Bombino's song "Amidinine," Johnny Cash, and John Prine, which fit the scenery perfectly--reflecting the raw, roughened, and weathered beauty of the desert landscape. We stayed at the secluded and magical JT Homesteader cabin
our first night in Joshua Tree. The dry and scorching heat of the day cartwheeled into a windy, chilly night, as we enjoyed our homemade dinner on the front porch, watching the lonely moon rise.
The next morning we enjoyed some desert green juice courtesy of Angela de la Agua
, a local of Joshua Tree, who hosts frequent juice cleanse retreats. She lives right down the street from the Homesteader cabin, and we could see her red car driving down the dusty road towards us. We camped the next two nights at Hidden Valley campground (and got into the park for FREE because it was the 98th birthday for the National Park Service--what luck!)--and enjoyed being some of the few campers there at the wake of the busy fall season. Hiking Ryan Mountain, boulder scampering (the alternative to skillful rock climbing), and watching the pastel paintings take over the sunset skies were some of the highlights of our two days.
The expansive, starry night sky was the most idyllic place to dream for the future; it is no wonder our thoughts felt clearer there. I wondered about what it is precisely that makes the desert feel both daunting and calming. I wonder if it's because in the open space we are only what we are--nothing more, nothing less. Ideas have room to marinate and run free. Dreams and depressions are laid bare and there's no use covering their identities anymore. The naked landscape is what it is, and invites you to do the same.