I have been visiting Joshua Tree, California and loving Joshua Trees (Yucca brevifolia) for nearly 20 years.
There is the park. Joshua Tree National Park is one of my favorite places on the planet. For me it is centering, it is healing and inspiring. My head clears during every visit and I am always re-charged. I leave ready to make more art and full of new ideas. The national park is the obvious place to see the trees, but they turn up all over the Mojave when the conditions are right in an altitude between 1,300 and 5,900 feet. Further north, the Mojave National Preserve has ‘forests’ of Joshua Trees.
There is the town. When I tell people I go to the desert either two questions seem to come up. They assume I go to Burning Man. That’s not my scene. I go to the desert for quiet. They also assume Palm Springs. But that too is a place that just isn’t for me. I prefer the funkier, less fancy desert towns up in the High Desert. Towns like Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms. The Country Kitchen in “downtown” Joshua Tree is a perennial favorite hang out.
And finally, there are the trees themselves — When you are in tune with nature, there can be certain places, plants and animals that you personally connect with. No two people are alike. For me, personally, the Joshua Tree is a very special tree. Technically speaking it is a plant, but that is a mere technicality. They are not the tallest and most majestic of trees, but Joshua Trees can still be hundreds of years old and possess a certain elegance. Each tree has its own personality. And yes, don’t tell the others, I have favorites.
Today’s piece is “framed” with some leaves from the Josephine Baker Joshua Tree. She stood for many years welcoming folks to the Rancho de la Luna in the town of Joshua Tree. The tree was so named due to its pose like the great dancer herself. Sadly, that particular tree was not meant to last for centuries. She went down in a windstorm over 10 years ago. The tree’s next stage was to become a source of life and habitat for many desert creatures that depend on fallen trees. And also, to end up in a little bit of art…