I’m looking out at the snow-topped San Jacinto Mountains through a scattering of palm trees. We are in the Coachella Valley for a month of rest, relaxation, and restoration. For some reason, the clear horizons of the desert hold a healing power that drains away the accumulated baggage of the year, and everything takes on a new perspective.
I have decided to be on the outlook for unexpected blessings, and we experienced what is beyond a blessing on New Year’s Day. This 180-mile trip from Ventura County to Palm Desert usually takes around 3 ½ hours plus, because it requires going through the tangled web of the Los Angeles Freeway system. But there was no traffic at all! We made the trip in 2 hours and 20 minutes—
Marcy Mary here. Sorry, but I just really have to interrupt the boring travelogue above. Well, yes, we are in the desert. I’m here for inspiration, since my new book is set in the desert, but if you are looking for solitude, this may not be the place.
Early this morning, I was awakened by about 5,000 honking Canada geese arriving on the golf greens that surround our condo. I opened one eye and gave the offensive avians the stink eye. Of course, they couldn’t see it—or could they? They all lined up and started marching toward the condo. I sat up in my bed and was about to let fly with my terrible, fierce bark when they stopped in the sand trap and started poking around, obviously finding some delightfully gritty early morning snack.
Well, I was thoroughly awake now, so I got out of my Tommy Bahama bed with the matching blanket and saw that Joey was still asleep, with his arm dangling down from the side of the foldout couch. His hand was right by my nose, so I gave it a sweet-smelling and warm lick. He stirred, and in no time we were outside—where it was freezing cold. What is up with that?! I didn’t even have my Ralph Lauren sweater on.
As we walked through the neighborhood and I explored the new scents, I was contemplating how different the desert is from our coastal climate back home. Clearly the desert is a place of contradictions. It is hot, and then it is frigid—all within a short period of time. It is a place of contemplation where a brilliant writer like myself can create, and at the same time it is filled with noisy creatures. I didn’t mention the mallards that arrived with the geese, and then there are the golfers …
Still, even though we are packed into this two-bedroom condo with the sleeper sofa in the living room, there is a sense of space here.
Once outside, Joey and I checked out the neighborhood, and I had decided this would be a good place for me to write when I detected a strong, familiar scent. Aha! I smelled a rat, and there he was. I stopped, and we sized each other up.
“Howdy, Princess. M’ name is Hank, and I want to welcome ye to the desert.”
I decided I liked this desert woodrat, with his little black eyes, twitching whiskers, and funky accent. He obviously recognizes royalty when he sees it. Maybe Hank will be in my book, maybe not. We will just have to wait and see.
Now, I just have to add a title to this blog, and then I’m finished—
Kathleen back here. Really! Sometimes Marcy Mary is rather rude. I just wanted to add: stay on the outlook for unexpected blessings.
Hah! I got the last word.