After an evening at Salvation Mountain, a quick sleep in Slab City and a nude dip in Niland’s hot springs, we headed west, further into the land of California and ended on the doorstep of Joshua Tree National Park.
Four days and three nights we stayed, nestled in the celestial mysticism of those furry trees, roaming, climbing and bathing in the hues of a California sunset.
There is something to be said for Joshua Tree, a place with desert climate and hundreds of wayward trees. It is a land of faith, of creativity among nature and its inhabitants. Matt and I slept under the stars, sans rainfly. To wake with the sun has been a joy these past six weeks. To feel its arms in the morning break, to hear its call before the day has even begun, I am thankful.
We headed further west, deep into the jungle of what I’ve seen to be Los Angeles. Brooke and Kyle lent us their home, their showers, their grub and their precious time. We basked in Corona’s heat on Cinco de Mayo, biked along the pacific of Venice and Santa Monica beaches, and we buried our toes next to the bonfire in Huntington beach. To be with these two souls, the sweet and calm life of a man and a woman who adore each other, care for each other, celebrate each other, was a moment worth noting.
I’ve known Brooke for many moons. To see my fellow sister building a life out west with the one she loves, totally settled in her skin and her soul, speaking the goodness of plant life and clean living, it made me proud - proud to know her, proud to be apart of her world.
Matt and I parted from the rest for a tour of Los Angeles in its entire wilderness. It was an unexpected moment when we realized we had been stationary for seven days – seven days in the traffic and the haul of sweaty LA. We are not only traveling for our book project, we are also taking this glorious opportunity to search for the place we will call home – a new Austin, a new domain where we will lay our heads and build a life.
As we made our was to Hermosa beach, my little brothers best friend Kolbi lent us her home, care, food, energy and straight up good vibes. Though we'd never spent much time together before this encounter, Kolbi and I connected like magnets. This precious and adult twenty year old shared with me her wisdom, laughter and humor for three nights. Her presence reminded of home, of the good people who grew there and the connection our small ocean side town will always have. Thank you miss Kolbi for your generosity, from you we have learned the lesson of taking care of your own.
Because of Los Angeles’s opportunity, we considered its space heavily and yet. When we approached and dwelled in this place for the first days, we were violently sure it was not where we wanted to call home. With the traffic and the bustle, the continual missed connections with friends, the expense and the traffic (needed to be noted twice), it seemed like an automatic X on our prospective list.
If these sweet babes, full of pure talent, ambition, wanderlust and adventure could live and not just live but thrive in Los Angeles, who’s to say we couldn’t (with equal hard work)? We found out that these filmmakers, directors, photographers, medical assistants, and newlyweds… they were not only making it but they were shining in this overcrowded metropolis.
We hiked rock pools in Malibu, rock climbed in Topanga Canyon, drank coffee in Manhattan Beach and at every encounter with these new friends I became confident that Los Angeles could be a place we enjoy.
I must speak on the excellence of Cameron Gardner – he brought us deep into Topanga Canyon to participate and observe the brilliance of high lining. Similar to slack lining, high lining places the body over an open space between two mountains, 100 feet in the air, in a harness attached to one, thin, rope.
As I watched the masses take turns, one after the other, walk across this thin strap in unabashed confidence in a rope it seemed to scream a lesson of the ages.
Why, do I place my faith in the technology of this world and yet I cannot trust in knots, the very thing that came before and will surely outlast rusted metal? Why must I fear the infrastructure of minimalism? Why do I fear what is secure?
Watching a newbie hang upside down 100 feet, frightened yet motivated by his fear, screaming and laughing in manic enlightenment it all became clear to me – fighting what is, questioning nature and simplicity has only ever brought us to our demise.
To be in full faith in the power of knots, to push when fearful, to pause and breath in the opportunity at hand has brought forth relentless serenity.
Los Angeles taught me faith – if you can believe it – oh and the old tale, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Yes, that one works too.
Now headed north,