I’m there now, standing in the desert with my eyes closed, head tilted up. I can smell the dying heat and feel the retreating warmth on my arms.
The sun was beginning to eclipse behind the monolith of rocks piled about in the sand, expelling a purple haze from what must be inside the dark crevices of the rock sculptures that stand a hundred feet high. A sherbet orange incandescence halos around and from within the piles of boulders, and the fine beige sand underneath tells a story of the death of stone and the passing of millennia. We were standing on history, we were breathing in old stories mixed with bone while the soft wind quietly added to the sounds of the sun going to sleep and the desert awakening.
We climbed up rough, pitted slopes to get the last view of the pink sun. And climbed. And further. It seemed that at the top of every whale sized boulder, there were more to attempt. Somewhere along the way the desert horizon had become a cotton candy canvas, peach and pale blue blanketing the sky while mauve and mustard reigned below. From beyond, a hoot. And again, a feathered friend returning the call. Joshua Trees stood stark against the falling light, not green now but a dimensional black, creating a spotted backdrop as far as could be seen. Rigid posts, home to the hoots and chirps emitting from them. A thousand faceless whispers filled the earth, the desert realizing that their enemy and sovereign was finally setting.
There are a thousand pictures we took in Joshua Tree National Park, but cameras don’t capture the magic as the mind does.