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Banbury Cross

a pillow for lost thoughts...

Post details: Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

This Winter has been like a marathon runner. It hasn't displayed any spectacular bursts of freezing and snowing grandeur, like so many winters before it, but it kept chugging on at a steady if modest pace. By the time it got past its equinox expiration date, it grew blithely oblivious to any hints the calendar may have been trying to throw at it and, without losing its cool for a single second, ground on and on and on and on, one chilly morning at a time, straining the patience of Spring seekers with a constant barrage of low forties. Its suffocating grip around Washington, DC was so unrelenting that the famous Cherry Tree festival (obviously dependent on blooming cherries) had to be postponed twice.

Since I was struggling with a lingering cold for most of March this year, I decided to seek a temporary thermal asylum in the Los Angeles area. But neither Santa Monica nor Long Beach provided the needed blast of heat that would scare away the virus colony that went camping in my throat. In fact, the cold Pacific breeze was quite beneficial to their well-being and I had to wait until a trip to the Joshua Tree National Park to finally fry to death all the unwanted microorganisms that I brought from DC.

Joshua Tree is one of the lesser known parks ensconced between two mountain ranges on the Southern end of the Mojave desert. It enjoys a broiling subclimate and is about 20 degrees warmer than LA. It derives its name from a peculiar plant which looks half like a palm and half like a tree and from a good distance might be mistaken for a limb of a calcified spider. The spotty presence of this tree gives the park the appearance of a green oasis in an environment of pervasive dryness. Trekking into its heart may feel a bit like hiking on Venus, but it is an endeavor worth taking.

Desert has its peculiar bittersweet charm - a fierce commitment to suffering if you will. This is where the rebellious Sun dances out its orgiastic etudes, this is where air tickles the vibrating tentacles of your imagination, and this is where the defiant life secretly sips from an elixir of warmth. Long live the vainglorious oven! You can paddle down the rivers of sand and discover your inner Dali among the well rounded boulders streaking by the roadside. Or you can try and tame the parched spirits of thirst that are floating past your senses just a few feet above the whitened gravel. You can even swim with the cactuses in the prickly sea of the Cholla Garden.

And most importantly, you can blow all your bacteria out of water for good.

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