Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday travels... Mojave Desert

Photo by Tim Laman (National Geographic)
     Yucca brevifolia.

     That is the Latin name for the Joshua Tree, seen here in a photo from the Mojave Desert.  It is the only term I remember from my 'Natural History of the Antelope Valley' class that I took in the late 80's.  It stuck with me because it sounded like you were calling someone a name... much like the Robin Williams character did in his movie 'Hook' ~ "You two-toned zebra-headed, slime-coated, pimple-farmin' paramecium brain, munchin' on your own mucus, suffering from Peter Pan envy!"

     Later when I began reading the Harry Potter book series, it sounded like a spell being cast with a flick of the twig I used for a wand while reading to my nephews.  "Wingardium Leviosa!"

     When I first saw the Joshua Tree as I drove from LAX airport to Lancaster, California in September 1986, I thought it looked like some sort of alien tree.  It did nothing to reassure me that my move from Florida was going to be pleasant.  We crossed the San Andreas Fault that ran through the San Bernardino mountains.  It divides the Los Angeles valleys and West Coast, from Palmdale and the Antelope Valley High Desert.  All I could see was flat, brown, dry dust, tumbleweeds, and these ugly trees.

     Fourteen years later, in November 2000, I left the same way I had arrived... crossing the San Andreas Fault line without even looking back.  I had come to appreciate the diversity of the desert, the Joshua Tree, tumbleweeds, and the unique beauty of the Antelope Valley.

"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." 
~ Anaïs Nin ~

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