Months ago the plan was made that my mom would visit us located in a snow-bird heaven of warmth, essentially extracting her from the harshness of a full-on Minnesota winter. Two nights before her arrival we slept with windows open and felt dehydrated after an hour walk in the desert. As our excitement levels increased and her flight approached closer, the wind began to blow and the temperature dropped. Our mastermind plan unfolded with a few key objectives left out, and it felt as though my sweet mother brought Minnesota with her to sunny Palm Springs California.
We simply exercised a family tradition of making the best of what you have. Within a few hours of her landing, we were fed and relaxing neck deep in hot mineral pools. I’d say we were coping. A meal, a soak, and a walk in the desert adjacent our resort was spot on. I enjoyed listening to her marvel at the geology beneath our feet, as Cassie and I are always commenting and discussing the many beautiful rocks we find strewn about.
Despite a chill in the air, the next morning brought sunshine and a clear turquoise colored sky. We embarked on a mission to explore the Saturday morning market. It’s always fun to look and demonstrate our discipline of not buying “stuff”. Cassie and I have broken the bonds of our consumerism culture and enjoy the thrill of being surrounded by gadgets, clothes, jewelry, hats, games, art, equipment, beauty products, for hours on end and not succumbing to a single purchase. My mom was bitten by the bug however, and strolled out of a booth with a couple of beautiful shirts to remind her of of the trip. We did secure some fresh produce, but food is classified by our standards as something other than stuff, not to mention nourishing.
After recharging our batteries from the miles walked at the market, we boogied out the door before the sun went down to visit a nearby oasis located on the San Andreas fault zone. A protected preserve area, it allows folks who visit a glimpse at what a real deal oasis in the desert looks and feels like. I’m sure a common expression would be that it’s beautiful, no matter who you talk to, and no doubt as a result of the life giving qualities.
Another trip to the pool, a duck feeding session, and “epic nachos” followed by some good old fashioned television watching wrapped up our Saturday night. A good visit can be assessed on how fast time flies by, and we canceled plans to ride the cable car tram due to weather and diminishing schedule. Our Sunday morning plans turned towards a visit to Joshua Tree National Park.
Up and out that morning, with Juniper along for the ride, we headed down the road. A quick stop at one of the visitors centers to stamp our book and grab a map that brought us all into a strange and different world with building size rock formations and Dr. Suess-like Joshua trees. The phrase “wow” was used over and over like a new language. Like most national parks, there is a great deal that can be view from the road, however we just had to go deeper.
The sun was warm, and the shade was freezing! After a picnic lunch, we embarked on a circular mile long hike. It was amazing. Hard to explain, pictures don’t do it justice, and it’s verifiably unlike anywhere else. With a martian landscape and views that provide a backdrop sixty miles away, we were all smiles. Everyone realized pretty quick that our decision to skip the cable ride to colder elevation was a good idea, and again our public lands impress. We chose to exit through a second visitor’s center to see if the park stamp was different, and it was, and were also afforded the opportunity to see a coyote. I had gone on and on about how we can hear them singing at night in the desert, and when they failed to perform, I was so glad our special visitor had a chance to see one moving along in its natural environment, looking strong and healthy. The drive home followed the setting sun and gave us an hour long view of a colorful and dynamic, ever-changing sky. Tortellini and sautéed zucchini was quickly served gourmet style before sleep washed over us.
Time then began to accelerate. My mom’s flight was early the next morning. It’s a pleasure to see someone you love, and painful to say goodbye, especially when they are headed back to a seemingly cold and dark landscape. All things must pass, and it’s noticeable days are getting longer as the world tilts back to warm days of summer. Big hugs and kisses, love you!