May 2, 2009
Notes from the past.
On the heels of several very fun and hectic days speaking, mentoring and participating at ASCAP’s Expo in Hollywood, I stole– no, made– two days for myself. Knowing that I was about to spend as many nights in May on the road as on my music deadlines at home, I revisited a place that has consistently made me peaceful and awe-inspired for 25 years: Joshua Tree National Park.
All those years bring with them a landscape of history, both geological, and personal. Staring out to enormous expanses beyond the deceptively furry looking tips of cholla cactus and ocotillo, my mind galloped across private, sometimes rocky terrain. Memories arose of camping, rock scrambling, friends, wildlife encounters, long drives and the endless drama of angry weather systems. I was in the present and in the past, simultaneously. It was wonderful.
I had slept directly under rocks that balanced precariously and impossibly as they awaited the next temblor, a few miles away from the quite visible San Andreas Fault. I had slept in the open, covered by nothing more than a sleeping bag that could have been nocturnal haven to scorpions or rattlers, but thankfully provided only a fuzzy bunny rabbit sniffing my feet at dawn. I had slept in tents erected in winds so strong as to nearly make me give up trying to pitch them. I had slept looking up at stars so bright as to make me question everything I ever imagined about the universe. And I had awoken, so many, many times over 25 years, to insights about my place in nature, and my place outside of it.
Driving back to Los Angeles to fly home, I absolutely had to stop at one of southern California’s cheesiest and silliest roadside attractions: the dinos at Cabazon. If a culture does not have pyramids one can enter, well, a Brontosaurus or T. Rex is surely the next best thing.
Past and present. I will always make time.