U2 released “The Joshua Tree” and featured an actual “tree’ on their cover. Obviously they didn’t identify exactly WHICH tree for fear it would be ..harmed. I admire that.
An hour or so north of Palm Springs, southern California lies small “Yucca Valley” township. It is surrounded by “Joshua Trees”. You don’t have to actually go INTO the park (hours of driving!) to get an experience – but hey, your choice. (Mojave is the only part of the world where they exist.)
I arrived in Yucca around noon and decided not to visit the park, but would find my own journey. (It’s pretty ‘wild’ throughout the area, regardless). In air-conditioned car, boots, and “it’s just a desert” (stupid) attitude I drive out for an hour or two like some dare from a “Jack-Ass” film.
AMAZING HEAT (yes, in car a/c full blast) builds the farther you go. Eventually I wanted to test myself and pulled over to get some shots (which I’ve since misplaced). In air-conditioned car, I thought “OK,let’s say my car dies and I have to get out of here.” There was a house about 1 mile away, on a hill. (WHY do these people live here??) As soon as I opened the car door I realized, NO WAY!! Like sucking a blast furnace directly to my lungs! Honestly, I “MAY” have made it 50, 80 yards, pushing it! Stoopid city kid! I wimped back to car, whining “it’s too hot!”
OK. I set my ‘boundaries’ yes, but I still want to see the desert. I pulled over on a dirt road and got out to shoot an amazing, small, bright pink sprout. I thought for sure it was a plastic, aquarium thingy that somebody had planted. Then I stood up and looked around. No.
(This is where it gets weird.)
I stood for a moment and could SWEAR that I was being watched. (2 hours from civilization.) I SWEAR that a message ‘realization’ kinda came into my head at that time. Something like, “you are welcome to visit, respect, but you don’t belong here, otherwise you’ll die.” But not in ‘voices’ or even word. Just .. STRONG epiphany? (Best I can describe.)
I then noticed bugs. I saw another creature scurry in front of me. Plants, life, all of a sudden came into vision. They were always there – I just hadn’t seen them until now. The heat wasn’t an issue. Time was not an issue. Like a “hall pass” from the desert. I could go on but you wouldn’t believe me. Me, with jaw dropped.
Upon returning to Yucca, I stopped into this cool, ‘hippie shack’ that sold t-shirts and stuff. I was incredibly humbled, even embarrassed, but eventually had to talk to another human about this ‘trip’. I said “Um … something weird just happened to me .. and um .. just wondering …” She smiled and pointed to literally, racks of books written on the subject. “Consider yourself lucky! Some don’t ‘get it’. Some say it’s a magnetic point within the Earth. Others think ancient spirits. Alien territory say others!”
I’m not sure how to wrap this up except to encourage an open mind. Like, REALLY open.