I’ve tried to explain the feelings that we get when we come upon a place that stimulates all of our senses so much that we are basically overloaded.
Not in a bad way, but rather a feeling of awe.
So much beauty that it takes your breath away. So much beauty that the internal dialog in our heads is actually brought to a complete stop. Our minds will move beyond seeing, beyond touching, beyond tasting, beyond hearing, and beyond our sense of smell. Beyond all feeling! We are essentially pulled into a different level of consciousness and perception.
And it feels good.
Spellbound, we just want to stay forever in that place of total contentment. But then again, different people may react differently.
The Grand Canyon comes to mind. And there’s a funny article out there on the Web called, “15 Hilariously Terrible Reviews of America’s National Parks.” Here’s what one person said about the amazing and mystical Canyon,
“A hole. A very, very large hole.”
Then there is Crater Lake where one reviewer said,
“But it reminds me of the Grand Canyon. Just something to look at and then leave. And way overcrowded.”
These comments, to me at least, are not only funny, they demonstrate a shocking unawareness of the world in which these people occupy. A total lack of appreciation for Nature, which is not only interconnected with each and every one of us, but is literally the Source of and provides for the Maintenance of all physical life on this planet.
It’s sort of like going through the check out line in the grocery store and the cashier, devoid of world experience, is unable to recognize and name the vegetables you are buying in order to ring them up on the cash register. They may not even understand or have a concept for where animal-based products originate, i.e., they believe that meat comes from the grocery store, as opposed to cattle being raised in a CAFO who are stabbed in the brain with a retractable bolt-gun, hung upside down on a hook, have their throats slit to bleed them out, and are then cut up into nice bite-sized pieces and packaged on styrofoam with clear plastic wrapping.
All so neat and tidy.
And I think Edward Abbey said it best about those visiting the Nation’s Parks when they stay in their cars or drive from pull-out to pull-out and snap a few pics and leave.
“In the first place you can’t see anything from a car; you’ve got to get out of the goddamned contraption and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbush and cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail, you’ll begin to see something, maybe. Probably not.”
So time-jumping once again, I finally take us to Madera Canyon in the distant past, and Joshua Tree in the not-so-distant past. My second-to-the-last-stop on my summer’s travels of 2020.
Oh, and here is the not-so-funny review of Joshua Tree National Park from the article I mentioned,
“The most underwhelming national park I’ve ever been to,” . . . “Problem: WE HARDLY SAW ANY JOSHUA TREES!
I’m not sure what entrance to the park this person took, or how good their eyesight might have been, but there are literally thousands upon thousands of Joshua Trees in that park. The sight is mind-bending as you see these amazing trees stretching on for miles.
And before I wonder down another Rabbit Hole, let me jump back to Madera Canyon. If you follow my blog, you might remember me talking about this amazing place in my post Tucson Blood.
While I told you about some of my experiences in the area and more, I failed to mention a couple of things that happened when one of my brothers was with me. One of those things, of all things, involved us telling stories.
You see, in Madera Canyon, at least some forty plus years ago, there was a private enterprise within the Park called the Such-and-Such Lodge. In fact, I believe some version of it is still there, just slightly changed. The lodging is still there, but from what I can tell, the lounge has been replaced with a gift shop.
It was in that now non-existent lounge, that my brother and I began telling stories of our travels. And the newly found friends around us wanted to hear more and began buying us drinks. Well, the bar tender wasn’t too happy about this and seemed to think that we were just bums victimizing his customers. So he asked us to leave.
That’s a nicely sanitized version of events. 😊
And word apparently got out about us two bums hanging out in the Park, like that was a bad thing. Bizarre, as we were not doing anything different than anyone else in the park. We were just staying longer as we had no place in particular to return to.
But another event would happen, of course, to change our “standing” to an even less desirable one.
Once, when we were away from our campsite, another camper came over and took all of the firewood we had collected. Now this might not seem like much of a deal, but unlike the casual camper who would return to their nice home after a weekend in their deluxe RV, we were living in these National Parklands. Fire meant heat and cooking. Cooking, of course, depended upon what we could scrounge up.
I remember once hunting squirrels with rocks, LOL. It was very sporting.
At any rate, my brother got pretty mad, found the culprit and words were exchanged, firewood recaptured, and then the Park Ranger showed up. It seems the combustible materials thief, being very upset by my brother’s actions, had reported us, as did the bartender from the previous evening.
So we did not have a favorable reputation growing.
The Ranger had words with my brother, and it wasn’t long after that I found myself going to Tucson to land a job. (See Tucson Blood)
So flash-forward to 2020. Joshua Tree. Just me by myself. I had paused for lunch at one of the vacant campsites. I didn’t see anyone camping in the entire park and signs were posted saying, “Do Not Die Today,” because of the intense heat.
A father and his two very young sons, I’d guess ages around five and seven, pulled into the campsite next to me. I heard him direct his sons to go find some firewood. Now this is something that is prohibited out there in the desert where the biomass is desperately needed to replenish the nutrient cycle.
Hearing this order from the father, my mind immediately drifted back to that fight over firewood in Arizona. And it just so happened, that I was carrying some firewood with me that had been gifted to me in Washington State when I was visiting Olympic National Park. And I didn’t see an immediate need for it. So I called the gentleman and his sons over and gave them the firewood.
He thanked me and passed some off to his children to carry. Their job now complete.
So three great things just happened here. I was able to give the father firewood, which I’m sure would make their night there much more comfortable. They arrested their search for firewood in the Park, thus saving the natural biomass for the Joshua Trees to digest later, and I was able erase some negative Karmic Traces from my Cosmic Footprint accumulated from the fight over firewood in a different Park so long ago.
How about that for synchronicity?
Who could ever predict that I would run into someone, in what was a largely vacant National Park because of the heat and COVID, and be able to engage in such a mutually beneficial exchange? Not me.
But that’s how the Universe works.
Just smile and accept it. And give in to its many invitations as often as you can.
You will find yourself smiling and be much happier, I guarantee it.
Photos: These pics are obviously from Joshua Tree. I do want to make a note here. It doesn’t matter how many pics you look at, the feeling is much more enhanced when you are there in person. 🙂
Rabbit Hole: Joshua Trees
These trees are scientifically named Yucca brevifolia, and they are members of the Agave family. Apparently this was uncovered by DNA testing as the Trees were originally thought to be in the Lily family. They only grow a half inch to three inches each year, and they may live to be 150 years old, or older!
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