Thursday, February 4, 2010

In The Desert

For someone dear to me...a story.

I had been advised to pack two things for the trip to Palm Springs....sunblock and out of two isn't bad...(I had a cooler full of water) least I had a hat....anyway...that day I had decided to leave behind the beach, the palm trees, and the traffic that characterize southern California for the desert. In truth, much of southern California is desert....except that we have decided to drain dry the Colorado River in what will probably prove to be a futile effort to make green what God made brown...anyway...I wanted to go to the desert...

On that particular trip to California I had rented a baby blue Chrysler Crossfire convertible...a two seat sports car with a 215 horsepower engine under the hood. The car effortlessly reached speeds in excess of 100 mph....I know this as I hit 120 mph late one night on the was more car than I was accustomed to having and I relished the opportunity to take it into the desert.

With hot sun overhead and the top down we left the interstate and drove past avocado and orange groves and through Temecula, the heart of southern California's wine country. Past creeks, gullies, gulches, and arroyos. Through Indian reservations and past ranches...through the scrub land...and up into the mountains...and into the desert.

Being from New England, California is like another planet to me. The people are certainly different...but was struck me most was that the land felt different...and seeing southern California in its natural, non irrigated state brought this home to me. As we drove through the desert there were places where there were beach ball sized boulders as far as the eye could see. It was in that landscape, alien, untouched, foreboding and at the same time alluring did I understand why men went into the wilderness feel free.

With the top down, the hot wind blowing past me, the sun beating down on me, the Rolling Stones' Exile On Main Street blaring on the stereo, I drove through the desert, lost in the experience of being in a strange and foreign place. Free from care, free from worry...and looking forward to a margarita.

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