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Desert Diary – September 3, 2017

It’s been 8 months since we sold the house in Eagle Rock and began renting a friend’s condo in Los Angeles with the assumption that we’d be there for a year to eighteen months. That was the time we thought we’d need to start and finish remodeling our place in the (Joshua Tree) Highlands. We will still need that much time, but we’d been applying for work in the desert for a while and when a job offer was made to Patty sooner than anticipated, we adjusted: We packed everything up all over again, and made the move.

It’s now been a little over a month now since we moved out during the scorching peak of summer, and it feels to me like many more than that. On the last day of July, after having just made the big U-Haul move, I got a ride from the desert back to L.A. to retrieve my car and the last remnants of the stuff that did not make it into the U-Haul. As always seems to be the case, everything took twice as long as I had anticipated, but by late afternoon, I had driven back and the car was unpacked. I could breathe if only for a moment, and begin my new life as a resident of the high desert. I’ve wanted this change for a long time and now it’s finally become a reality.

Pretty much immediately, and every day for over three weeks, I was at Moonage Daydream (our interim place until work on the JT house gets done) getting things ready to move in. It’s been intense but incredibly productive.

Laundry 2 Landscape

I worked with and watched Nicholas Holmes and his crew as they created two grey water systems, one a direct line from the shower to two trees and a laundry-to-landscape system that will feed a drought-tolerant landscaped area next to the house. I designed and completed my first-ever (and likely my last) art-tile floor. The contractors finally got everything done on their end, and we were finally ready to begin unpacking and hanging art.

Art Tile Floor

I applied and interviewed for a job at the Mojave Desert Land Trust, and organization whose work I genuinely applaud and respect.  I did not get the job, and was admittedly disappointed; I have little doubt however that they hired somebody who was particularly qualified for the gig.

Tomorrow the painters begin painting the exterior of the house. I need a nap.

It’s been nine years—perhaps even longer—since Patty and I first visited Joshua Tree and the surrounding communities. An old friend had been visiting from Canada, and was going to stay with a mutual former friend/acquaintance from the old music Seattle days in the late ‘80s, when I playing loud thick music and releasing other music by many of my friends via C/Z Records.  Since then we’ve been coming steadily and regularly and in 2014, we bought and fixed up our first place out in the apparent netherworld of Wonder Valley, a special place out here with its own flavor of desert magic. Some people from JT seem aghast at the thought of driving such a long drive away, but I can only compare the mileage from our old neighborhood to Santa Monica—approximately the same distance—with a drive that can take three times as long. JT to Wonder Valley seems like a quick run by my standards – Distances in the desert seem to fold space.

This was just one of a hundred reasons why we decided to join the Angelino ex-pats that have been swarming this area for the last 5+ years. Time and space take on a different quality in the desert and the ability to genuinely relax is something that I do not think I could have ever fully realized staying in L.A.

Wonder Valley Sunsets leave you breathless

My life has consisted of several chapters of redefinition, almost always with intent and in direct response to my internal dialogue about where I find myself during particular points in my life. Ultimately, it’s a matter of trying to focus my life in directions that feel in alignment with a sense of purpose and growth, and if I’m doing things right, with a sense of creativity as well.

Only time will unpack what this new life will look like, but outside of the time it takes to build real community, I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be. I feel energized and have a sense of contentment that is remarkable in how complete it feels.

Let’s hope my writing becomes a more frequent practice.

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