Ever since I began planning my trip, I’ve looked forward to visiting the Joshua Trees. I was planning to leave Portland in March, and the weather would have been much more pleasant here if it hadn’t been for the delay in my departure. But…everything happens for a reason (or lots of them; I truly believe that), and into the desert in July I’ve journeyed thus.
What an amazing place – the National Park and its surrounding spaces! I’ve heard there’s something spiritual and magical and mystical about the desert, and I truly believe that to be case. There’s just a…feeling I get when I’m here – and it’s what I’ve been seeking. I want more of it. Much, much more of it.
It’s hot (obvs), and some guy went missing in the park this week, so I was hesitant to venture out on the hikes I otherwise would have (a ranger suggested I limit my treks to 45 minutes). Just imagining what might have happened to him (heat exhaustion, dehydration, a fall, a rattlesnake bite…) made me feel extra cautious – so I stuck with more of a “from the road” exploration that felt somewhat touristy, but I benefited from the fact that this is definitely not busy season in the park, so at no time did I feel crowded or like I was missing out on the heart or spirit of the park. Of course, I wish I could have gone “backcountry,” but someday I’ll come back for that.
My first overnight was at a campground in the park. I drove in to the colors of the sunset, sat outside in awe of the stars, then slept with all my “windows” open in the glorious breeze the desert nights gift even in the heat of summer. Woke up early, explored the desert, then spent the afternoon in a cool spot in the little town of Joshua Tree. And then…that’s when things got really magic.
A friend’s niece has a “glamping” spot outside of Joshua Tree, and I got to stay there for the night (thank you, Mary!!). It was exactly what I’ve been craving (and sometimes failing to create somehow, frustratingly). It was 2 miles down a long, sandy, washboard road and perfectly situated amongst desert foliage, including Joshua Trees and sage brush. I caught the sunset and then I SHOWERED OUTSIDE UNDER THE STARS!! And that was an incredible experience!!
A guy I used to date has a house in woods, along a river, with a hot tub outdoors. I LOVED sitting in it at night, in the dark in the peace of the country, with the sound of the river rushing by. I miss that. It’s the stuff of a life I envision for myself – and last night reminded me of that. With no tall trees on the horizon, the sky opened up in a vast expanse of waxing crescent moon and twinkling stars. When I got out of the shower, I laid in my camp chair completely naked just basking in it, and it was awe-inspiring.
I tried to sleep in my tent outside the little cabin, but there was too much wind (the window and door zippers were clinking around like crazy, and the whole thing was rocking on top of my car), so I closed it up and went inside, opening all the windows to sleep in the breeze. Turns out that was a good idea since I was awakened in the night by a THUNDERSTORM (my absolute favorite sound to sleep to). I opened the doors and just soaked it in…then after the rains stopped, coyotes sung to one another nearby, and I fell back to sleep to more sounds of the country.
This morning I got to meet the dove that lives in a nest above the vanity mirror in the tin shack of an outside bathroom. AND I got a rare glimpse of a desert tortoise, beckoned out from hiding in the sands by the promise of water left behind by the rains.
On Airbnb, this particular site is called “Spiritual Gangster’s Paradise.” The cabin is filled with inspiration – from funky depictions of Jesus and Catholic pillar candles to books on everything from Hinduism to Tarot – and tucked in a bookshelf, I found a box of inspirational cards from Gabrielle Bernstein. The cards feature colorful illustrations accompanied by wisdom from Gabby’s book The Universe has Your Back. I sat outside in the morning breeze watching my little tortoise friend take his time wandering across the desert landscape and thinking on one card in particular.
Energy flows where my intention goes.
THIS. I shall continue to imagine and conceive of what my own personal “spiritual paradise” looks like and put my energy toward manifesting a life that creates and encompasses it.