We found ourselves in Joshua Tree, CA earlier this week saying goodbye to some old friends. Not knowing when we will see each other again the visit was bittersweet this time around; a lingering sense of change hung in the air around us.
The day of our departure arrived and Darwin and I woke early to say goodbye to yet another, Joshua Tree National Park. We greeted a seemingly empty park and drove in silence enjoying the quiet and the morning hues of the landscape surrounding us. We started hiking on a trail chatting about nothing. Darwin pulled ahead as I lagged behind him, my thoughts wandering at the vastness of the park, which is always astounding to me.
As we continued down the trail, I found myself winded and sweaty. It had been almost two weeks since my feet had hit a dirt trail and I could tell. Stopping to catch my breath, I closed my face and took in the heat on my face, the sweat dripping down my back, and the burn from my labored breath in the back of my throat. I took in the moment with my ever being. I was in the present.
When I opened my eyes, Darwin was in the distance waiting. I wouldn’t have to explain to him what I was doing, he knew. I caught up to him and we shared a wide section of trail side by side. The last time we hiked together was here, prior to his PCT hike. We reflected on time spent in this park within the current year and last, thanking our lucky stars for the experiences, the revelations it brought forth to us and the special people who we spent time with inside its boundaries. We fell back into another comfortable silence when the trail gifted us one last time after already giving us so much.
A Desert Kit Fox quietly emerged from nowhere and walked the trail towards us. We watched him in awe as he approached closer, so close I had the urge to take several steps back. He took his time strolling past us, smelling a few things along the way but never hesitating; every step was confident and graceful. We watched until the fox disappeared like a mirage into the desert.
We left the park full of love on our last day; love for the land, for the people who protect it, and the living things within it. This harsh and dry place will always have a piece of hearts.
Thank you Joshua Tree National Park, you have given us more than we will ever be able to repay to you.
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