Pattison on Wheels

Monday, February 11, 2008

Midday At The Oasis


OK so I was embarrassed to mention that when I took a walk in the Mojave National Preserve a few days ago I felt a kind of animism. It happened again when I drove through some of the huge landscapes in the following days. Especially one time when Donald Bird’s “Christo Redentor” was playing on the car stereo. I can’t really say what this trip is about but it has something to do with that sense that there is more than random accident going on around here.

Sometimes in meditation I feel the love and basic OKness of the universe and even in this morning’s meditation—just as I was internally whining about my neighboring camper's taste in music—I accepted everything. I accepted the biggest of all packages and was even moved by the music for an ephemeral moment.

So all the detail about to follow is just a narrative to hold a context for looking at things. It was good to get out of Lake Havasu City. It was both expensive and depressing. Joshua Tree National Monument was beautiful and the Jumbo Rocks Campground was good but cold because of the altitude. So on to Desert Palm Springs campground in Anza-Borrego State Park which was actually warm but also expensive and had too many noisy neighbors carousing and interfering with a virtuoso coyote concert.

So, wending ever southward, I got to Bow Willows Campground. Ah. Hot. Seven bucks a night. I’m signed up for a couple days to hike and get some exercise for the first time this week. And exercise I did. I went on a long hot hike to a small cool oasis called Southwest Grove. Then up into the rocks on a vague trail to Torote Bowl which I followed uphill to the end and then I lost the trail on the way down. My thighs were beginning to cramp and I was wondering if this was the end. I stopped to try to send a text message giving my location in case I didn’t get back to the campground through some accident. Plenty of signal but the message failed to send. The ground was really rough. I made it over about a half mile of assorted rocks before I found the trail again. My feet are blistered, my thighs are on fire, and I am going to sleep well tonight.

Sunday Feb 10
I got to hiking again by 11 using directions from a park flyer but again the trail was not really marked and got me to my destination by luck primarily and a tough hike over big rocks. But the lovely grove of native California Fan Palms called Palm Bowl was worth it. I spent most of the day there. Nothing to do. Nothing to learn. Nothing to teach. Nothing to tell. What a relief! And the most amazing thing—not a single other human showed up. After four and a half hours I so bonded with the palms that I felt like making some sort of sacramental gesture on leaving. This has been what I was hoping for: a day with nature with that strange communion that puts my little agendas in perspective and lets me relish a free-floating clarity not put to any purpose whatever.


  • I loved this story! There is something so spectacular about being lost or feeling close to "the end", whatever that means in the moment...and then live to nurse the blisters. So glad you are writing. H

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At February 11, 2008 2:58 PM  

  • Pat,

    You got me back in my niche, travelling vicariously.

    Love Brian.

    By Blogger BRIAN, At February 13, 2008 12:43 PM  

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