Frost had settled on my sleeping bag and I had six or seven new mosquito bites. I rolled over to see the sun shining bright and beautiful just about a hands width from the desert landscape. We had thrown down our bags on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land near Joshua Tree National Park. There wasn’t another soul in sight, though I’m sure some critter watched me from their hidey hole – perhaps a Kangaroo Rat or maybe a Red Tail Hawk; it was too cold for a Desert Tortoise.
Jeep took out his brand new 22-rifle and shot at a target a fair distance away. I read my book, still snuggled up in my bag and only occasionally scratching at the bites from the monster bug that zipped around my head under the near full moon last night. After lazing around for a bit, we gathered our things and drove to Jumbo Rocks campsite in Joshua Tree so I could ride through the park: it was about 20 or so miles to the west entrance.
Clouds moved in fast overhead – more of a heather grey then ominously dark – still, it was the desert and the mood shifts quickly here. The chilly wind bit through my two layers of clothes, so I threw on another layer then used a bungee cord to strap down another jacket and my book (once I get started on a good story, I read voraciously, even at stop lights once the tension starts to build). I pulled on mittens and my helmet, locked my shoes into the pedals and started to ride through a forest of Dr. Seuss’ Lorax-like trees.
Boulders piled on top of each other in great masses like dollops of whipped cream. Thoughts came and went as my leg muscles grew accustomed to the heat and my ears to the chilly wind. I smiled as the landscape unfolded its treasures around each bend.
It’s a beautiful thing to know what brings you peace and clarity.