Saturday, August 1, 2015
Dear High Desert Neighbor.
Almost six years ago I moved to Joshua Tree. Everyone thought I was retired, and it was in a way a forced retirement. Everything I had known was complete and that old life finished. Retirement was not something I see for myself. I had no idea what I would do next. Over the years, I fumbled around trying one thing after another. I photographed, painted, wrote, did some healing work and overall searched for the next destination on my path.
The Morongo Basin Community has supported my search. Laural Seidel and Frank Mezget at the Glass Outhouse gave me the opportunity to show my work. Valerie Meyer at Rainbow Stew has been a great supporter. Jill Lust from Sweet Digs, which I am so sorry is no longer there, showed my photographs. My friend Cheryl Montelle gave me the opportunity to tell my story at Desert Stories. Gretchen Grunt at the 29 Palms Creative Arts Center and Jenny Qaqundah at the Grateful Desert has stood by me even when there was little gain for them. Stacey Moore, the editor of the Hi-Desert Star, has continuously published my articles. My friends Steve and Sarah Bardwell opened their home to me and my art. Jim Berg and Fredrick Fulmer, whose hearts are as big as this entire Basin, have introduced me to artists and encouraged me to tell their stories. They have brought artists to this desert from all of the world, enriching the artist lives and ours.
I understand there is no destination and for me, there is no one thing. All of it makes up the total of me. The beautiful and strange hand of the universe moved me to the High Desert, to a place that is made up of people that are similar. We are a community of seekers, finders, believers and creators. It is a place where people come to live their dreams. Sometimes that is very difficult and in those times we all forget why we’re here. That knowledge can return like the lightning that flashed through the sky during our rare and beautiful storm the other day. Maybe it lasts only for a moment as we move on to other places and maybe it simply embraces us right where we are. We are in a place that is sacred, beautiful, difficult, challenging and in the greatest sense of the word, home.
I so appreciate the spirit of the people that find themselves here. You are all so brave, passionate and determined. I have seen your spirit shine on one newcomer after another. My first week here, I took a Yoga class at Instant Karma. The owner, Clea Benson, welcomed me and said, “It is so good to have you here.”
Morongo Basin, you’re an amazing community. Your non-profits, your art residencies, your personals goals and projects all reflect the depth of humility, your compassion, and strength. I have seen one resident after another open their door and extend a helping hand to a neighbor in need. Your commitment to the land and to encouraging others to live an artful and conscious life is admirable. Transitions, The Morongo Basin Land Trust, the Joshua Tree Highlands Residency, Mil-Tree, Harrison House, all non-profits. There are many more, but these are the ones I have been involved with or written about.
So many of you have given me your stories, and that is a gift I will always hold dear. You have allowed me into your homes to photograph you. I cherish the faces I see in those photos. Morongo Basin, I turn the light you shine on others, right back on you.
San Diego – reflections of city life, California, comfort, people in the streets, farmers markets and beautiful weather.
Route 62 Diner – Nostalgia, good food and friendly service. The High-desert charm mingles with old cars, the owners New York accent and a good BLT.