Joshua Tree / Salton Sea


Let me tell you about Joshua Tree past midnight. Everyone's asleep in tents that they were smart enough to assemble before dark. Meanwhile, mine is folded up tightly somewhere in the back of my trunk. My headlights create an eerie glow as I travel a long dirt road headed to who knows where? There's a lot of silence behind the piano keys of Helen Jane Long's, The Aviators, playing at low-volume through the speakers of my dusty, two-wheel drive Ford Focus. A lot of, "should I have turned around 5 miles ago?""where am I going?" "am I lost?"

I breath into the parts of me that feel like they're being squeezed by fists. Fight anxiety with adrenaline and remember that I am cool, I am calm, I am unbreakable. Bandage me up like strangers who maybe, might have known each other in another life. A kinder life.

My tires roll up to campsite #1: FULL. Campsite #2: RESERVATION REQUIRED. Campsite #3: Open. Open with the perfect spot hidden between two piles of rocks and shrubs. Under the starlight at 1 a.m., two silent campers assemble a tent against the force of 30 mph winds. With a few hours till' sunrise, a victory shot of whiskey and well-deserved sleep carried me into morning.


In just 48 hours, I learned a lot of things. Here are some of them:

1. It's possible to get through a day of adventuring after drinking only one cup of cold coffee.
2. The Salon Sea doesn't smell nearly as bad as I thought it would.
3. Religious or not, Salvation Mountain is an astounding work of art made entirely of adobe clay and donated paint; it's entirely worth the off-the-grid drive into Slab City.
4. You don't always need a plan. Sometimes, things just have a way of working themselves out.



















If I've learned anything after twenty-two years, it's that there is importance in uncertainty. Sometimes you have to travel down a long, rocky road to find a locked gate you just can't get past. You have no choice but to  turn yourself around and start over again. What matters most is how you turn yourself around.








Life is a kaleidoscope. It seems like we are eternally switching into different combinations of light passing through a rolling cylinder. We are forever changing patterns and mosaics that reflect who were once were and who we are today. We are all just strangers trying to make beautiful things out of the good moments. We are all one ray of light. Our moment is now.


FIN.

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© A Little Baker
Maira Gall