Monday, February 23, 2015

Beauty, all around

Sunrise, Saturday, Copper Mountain Mesa
Friday night we went to the Black Rock Lecture Series, "San Bernardino County Renewable Energy Development Codes Updates," a rather uninspiring name for a very important talk on state and national plans for energy creation in the California desert.

Frazier Haney, of the Mojave Desert Land Trust, gave an informative overview of policies affecting the desert. David Lanfrom, of the National Parks Conservation Association, then gave a poetic interpretation of what the policies mean to the future of our country and where our visions of the future fall into shortsightedness and a lack of imagination. James Ramos, Supervisor, San Bernardino County, talked about moratoriums used to scale back large scale energy development poised at the gates of the desert like an impending gold rush.

I learned enough to write a semi-intelligible public comment on the DRECP (Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan – due today. If you haven’t already, send your comments to: or

The scrub - burrobush, big galleta grass and creosote, once so bland and colorless to me, now look unimaginably beautiful.
A Joshua Tree in bloom on our neighbor's property.
On Saturday night there was a benefit at the Palms in Wonder Valley for the artist, Heather L. Johnson. Her project, "In Search of the Frightening and Beautiful," begins again in March with a motorcycle trip to South America. Heather has completely won the hearts of everyone in Wonder Valley and the house was packed. Live music included the Sibleys, son of the velvet rat, the Renderers (pictured below), BATT and Reverend Screaming Fingers (aka Luci Lightning).

I enjoyed some of the music, but missed son of the velvet rat as I volunteered to help tend bar, take orders and deliver food. I did so for about an hour and had a blast. I hope I have a chance to do it again. As I've mentioned before, I was a bartender/food server/restaurant manager for almost 20 years. If it weren't for my old bones I'd probably be doing it still. It was my favorite job ever. To be able to dip my toe in that pool was such a treat.

The Renderers - loved them!
Sunday morning came a little earlier than usual. Laurel and Frank, from the Glass Outhouse Gallery, were, as always, already there. Frank gave me a couple of past issues of Ratany, "a [Wonder Valley] community newsletter that investigates the arts and artists and odd news." More on that later.

My friend Charlie came to visit from Los Angeles and ran into his two friends Laurel and Steak who are relocating to the area. We introduced them around. Pictured below, from left to right, Laurel Frank, Laurel and Frank. Serendipity, no?

Honorable mention to Leslie Mariah Andrews who painted the portrait of Laura Sibley and Pumpkin hanging over Laurel's head.

Laural Frank, Laurel Seidl and Frank Mezget
Two of our friends were celebrating their 13th anniversary with a walk in Joshua Tree National Park. Charlie and I tagged along. It was my second trip to the park and pretty much my first time out of the car. It was cold, which was a surprise because it's been in the 80s and 90s for a couple of weeks now.

The clouds rolled in and the lighting on the landscape shifted dramatically. Our of our friends had been a park ranger and was adept at taking us on the gentlest routes while pointing out various plants and budding wild flowers. It was so quiet and peaceful and beautiful. I know now what I must do. I must get a park pass and come here regularly. Walking just 100 or 200 feet away from the parking lot takes you to an otherworldly landscape that delights and expands. 

Thank you, my friends, for bringing us here and sharing this beauty of the desert with us, on this most auspicious of anniversaries!

Clouds rolled in in the afternoon bringing much needed rain.
Looking across the Marine Air Ground Combat Training Center from Copper Mountain Mesa.
It was a beautiful weekend in Joshua Tree and the all the gateway towns. Wish you were here.