Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Delicate Desert Flower

I'm a little disappointed in myself that one of my happiest days so far on this trip was when I spent five hours by the pool at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club. I used to think Palm Springs was too populated.

But the call of water is undeniable for me. I can't drink enough of it here. I sometimes shower three times a day. And even though I don't dare to swim in it, I keep dreaming about returning to the Salton Sea.

Over the course of five hours at Ace, I would swim, dip, float, splash for a while, emerge and let my body evaporate in the heat, have a few sips of water, and get back in the pool. It felt warm like bath water, gently swaying from side to side. It irrigated my body with the slow drip of a date garden. Desert dwellers can't live without any water.

I was thrilled today when I climbed the Andreas Canyon Trail in Indian Canyons to find a brook, maybe a creek or stream, running through the big palm oasis. Filling the silence of my solitude, it babbled for me, relaxing my sun-scrunched face and unsteady loose gravel legs to take the mile-long amble in triple-hot heat.


In cooler seasons, the Indian Canyons - particularly Murray Canyon - are lush with waterfalls and streams, but it's so hot right now that they've all dried up, leaving my one lonely stream to trickle along the rocks and dampen the sandy soil just enough to let my sneaker tread grip into it. I would not fall; I would not get lost. Not with a water compass to follow, cross, and follow back.


The green palms followed the water too.

The temperature has crept up ever so slightly even in the higher elevation of Joshua Tree, making me sluggish during the day and keeping most of my meaningful activities to the early morning or twilight to night. I'm resisting naps. But I will answer water when it comes calling, and may just hose myself down tomorrow when I'm watering the other desert flowering plants.