The Inner Magic Of The Desert
“No matter how harsh it might look during the day, late afternoon is a magical time in the desert -> shadows elongate, gold colors erupt and you just want to walk forever until the sunset swallows you up.”
I wrote those words last night after I came back from an afternoon Geocaching walk with doggie. I left the RV Park at the point when the shadows were stretching and returned after the sun had said its final red goodbye’s. These long desert solo walks are the moments I get into my own head and fly free with philosophical ramblings, and they are moments of pure magic. It’s a feeling that only those who’ve been to the desert can truly understand, and even then it may take a fair few visits before it sinks in.
I remember the first time we came to Desert Hot Springs in our RV in April 2010. It was our first few months on the road and we drove along dreary Dillon Road looking in horror at the run-down houses and stark, uninteresting desert around us. Apart from endless fields of windmills (which frankly didn’t add to the view) there was nothing out here. It was brown, bland desert made even worse by the harsh light of mid-day sun. A few palm trees, a sprinkling of dry brush, but nothing appealing and certainly nothing to photograph. Shortly after we passed the local grocery shop with the barred windows (always a good sign, right?!) I saw the gaudy neon lights of Sam’s Family Spa and turned into what looked like a big, dirt parking lot with a bunch of semi-permanent trailer homes.
Oh no, what a dump!
At this point I was ready to trash our entire trip and move on, but thankfully something stopped me. We parked the RV and wandered over to the spa. Suddenly we were enveloped in swaying palm trees, the sweet cascading sound of waterfalls and the soothing feel of hot mineral pools. Folks invited us warmly in and chatted about the area, and the pools were….delightful. As time went on the surrounding desert, horrible as it first seemed, started to grow on us too. Walking doggie in the early mornings and late afternoons we found the mountains majestic and golden, rather than dry and barren, the desert varied and interesting rather than stark and sterile. The place was starting to come to life.
And then I saw my first desert sunset. Holy Moly and a technicolor hand-basket!
In my entire life I had never seen fire like that. Reds so deep they burned in blood, pinks so neon bright they seemed unreal and oranges so intense they made my eyes weep. The sky lit up like a fireworks and played for almost an hour before shutting off. It was stunning, gorgeous and deeply moving. I had discovered the beauty of some of the clearest and driest air on earth and the amazing science of sky color saturation.
I was speechless and I was hooked!
We’ve been coming back to the same park for 5 years now, the only private RV park that has ever held our interest for so long. On the surface it’s not fancy and it’s not even particularly pretty. But it’s got a wonderfully relaxed feel, the owners are fabulous, the spa pools are sublime, the monthly rates exceptional, there are endless miles of hiking all around us and the park accepts everyone (everyone) with open arms. I like that it’s got an “edge” to it, a certain quirkiness and I love that it’s not exclusive. We feel at “home” here. It’s totally our kinda place!
And the desert?
Well, I’ve come to see its beauty. As with all things (and people for that matter) in life they either become more attractive or less attractive as you get to know them. It’s only when you peel the orange that you get to the tasty stuff underneath and discover its “inner beauty”. I couldn’t live here all year around, I know that. The unrelenting heat of summer would drive me mad. But in winter? In winter this place draws me like a soul magnet and I yearn for the very starkness that scared me so much the first time I saw it. And when the sun dives low in the sky I walk out to the desert to envelop myself in its magic. Some days I keep going until the sunset swallows me up.
Related Posts And Links:
- Sunsets In The Desert = Nature’s Perfect Color Storm
- RV Park Rating – Sam’s Family Spa (Desert Hot Springs, CA)
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