Just a thought... I love the desert and its incomparable sense of space. [Robyn Davidson]
Suddenly our winter home seems very still. And a little sad. After two straight weeks of company, it's down to just us three: Molly, Rob and me. The laundry's been caught up, the house put back as we found it when we arrived almost three weeks ago and things are as I expect they'll be until our next guest arrives on Christmas Eve. (No, it's not Santa - we don't expect we'll have much of a holiday except for a nice turkey dinner.)
I think, though, that when guests come, it'll be a must that they bring a supply - for us and for them - of Cold FX. We can't get it here and we find that, thanks to the long plane rides to Palm Springs (usually connecting in Calgary) and/or the dusty pollen-filled air, almost everyone has some kind of cold or allergy symptoms when they settle in.
Rob and I have managed to stay healthy for the most part, although when I arrived I stocked up on cold and allergy medications just to reduce the "swimmy" feeling in my head. We're going through a lot of tissues here, for sure. But that's just a tiny part of the past few weeks, and hopefully our guests' memories will not include all of the sniffling, sneezing and coughing that's been going on. Poor Anita!
And so to reflect on more pleasant things....
One of the best parts of hosting guests is learning the lay of the land and finding out the places they - and you - need to see. With Lisa and Derek (Lisa's my broadcasting sister who's just left her job on a London AM news station with a fantastic recent morning ratings book to celebrate as she leaves) we saw Joshua Tree National Park. It was so moving that we took Ian and Anita there, too, one week later.
What's a Joshua tree? Not actually a tree at all, this spiky and hardy member of the Yucca family, it grows in no place on earth other than this Mojave desert location. The vistas are stunning - bubbly rocks dot the landscape...
...and the views of Salton Sea as well as the San Andreas fault are magnificent, albeit hazy from the park's designated viewing areas. That haze comes from the area lying in a dip that collects all of the bad air from around us, including Los Angeles, which is just a couple of hours away.
The Joshua tree itself is said to have been so named by Mormons who thought it looked liked the Biblical character Joshua with its arms reaching up towards the heavens.
Even fans of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax and his fictional Truffula trees feel right at home amidst these unusual growths...but for many, if you say "Joshua Tree," they think of U2 and the title of one of the Irish band's albums. As one park official puts it, U2 did more to promote the park than anyone, ever. But the tree on the album cover was shot some 200 miles north of the park and died 15 years ago. You could say that fans of the band looking to replicate the LP back cover still haven't, um, found what they're looking for.
Already our annual park pass has paid for itself and I know we'll be making the hourlong trek to the park again to share the experience with other guests before our return to BC in February. And with you, of course!
Talk to you here tomorrow.
(@erindavis on Twitter)