Joshua trees

October 15, 2010

another Lancaster sunset

Here it comes, the sun gets to the horizon, approaches the mountains. Shadows appear. colors and shades are mutating quickly. In am in a suburb. Should be bland, boring, unoriginal. But I find myself intoxicated. I pull over, park, dismount, reach into my right jacket pocket.


I spent the day in corporate businesses, Starbucks, Guitar Center, UPS store, Arco gas, AAA… Getting maps, looking at cheap guitars to take on the bike (no luck here) sending emails, communicating, getting business cards… In these places one knows what to expect.

Right now I am near Avenue 50 which is conveniently placed between Avenues 49 and 51 which are also gridded between Avenues K and L who themselves are between J and M. Predictable, expectable. But right here there is magic happening, calling, existing on a piece of land that is caught in the middle of this grid. But if their geography is square nothing on them is.

I felt attracted to this bit of land immediately, the very first time I saw it when I drove by. Hmmm…. what is this? I thought. I’d been promising myself to stop ever since. Two days ago it was too dark and three days ago too hot for me to want to stop. Today it was perfect.

There were clouds in the sky. Clouds… It is wild to see clouds in the California sky. The air changes instantly, there is unrest. Cool, moisture, and those clouds just can’t be quiet so close to the mountains so they shift constantly. The sun on the horizon creates a sort of glow, a hazy glow, I don’t know how to call it. Everything comes alive as if uncovered by the light but also covered by it’s artifacts. The boringest pile of sand now intrigues. I walk on that sand, as if in some sort of peculiar parallel creation existing in the midst of this grid. The ground is pierced by hundreds, thousands of holes… snakes? moles? what? This is not my world. I don’t know this desert stuff. It’s all very alien looking.

It’s gold, yellow, brown, gray, goldish, pinkish, it’s shifting… every second. Here at this time of the day we all go “phew” as the heat abates and lets go of its grip. It is also the moment just before the cold comes in. A short, lilting, giddy moment. It has the looks of a fairy tale. All that was foreboding, hot, sandy, deserty “you cant survive here” kind of attitude from the environment, well they all soften. You find flowers and they are so incredibly vulnerable yet invincible for having grown here… side of the road glories in all their fragility and mortality at the height of their beingness. but you got to look for them, they kind of hide in plain sight. A desert ability I guess.

It is dramatic, glorious, incomprehensible.

Well in this grid there is more yet. There are Joshua trees. I was told they are actually flowers, but they grow as big as trees. They each are like individuals, they point fingers, arms and extremities in all directions.

They are hairy and they all talk at the same time gesticulating…

I keep looking around. There is light hanging in the electrical wires who bounce from pole to pole, shining, beautiful. Yeah, electrical wiring… beautiful… told you it was magical.

The shadows grow, there is only a few minutes of this left.

I get a sense of this land. We all think of LA and California as the land where the celebrity live… but there is much more than the promises of celebrity sightings and stardom. As soon as you leave the tired cracked cement, the constant and insistent roar of the cars speeding away on freeways, a secret society of plants, organic matter, bugs, animals exist uncompromisingly on this land and they wait to see who will heed them. Humans rush, motors run, oil leaks, cell phones ring, voices rise, horns honk, the sound of rubber on the asphalt, a siren howls… and then in the middle of this grid, this uncontrolled urban sprawl magic exists and reveals itself to some lucky soul. I will keep looking to find the magic, maybe I’ll find the magicians…


2 Responses to “Joshua trees”

  1. Erika Says:

    I like the Joshua trees, and I like you and your shadow and the bike….

    did you see salonunidad’s post on you in pasadena…


    • I thought you’d like the Joshua trees.. they are amazing.

      I saw the post and also got the note that you are closing the salon unidad. I’ll keep following the liger’s tale…



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