Thursday, April 23, 2009

Capital “T” Things

As I mentioned, Tweeted, and previously blogged, I spent Friday at Joshua Tree, which, if you haven’t been, is basically a hot, windy playground for grown-ups, especially if grown-ups enjoy taking peyote and then scaling sheer rock faces. I can’t actually take credit for the comparison to a playground because it originally came from Hannah’s brain, through her fingers and onto a computer on which she wrote about her experiences there. Time constraints kept me off rocks, for the most part and especially those which should not be mounted without protective equipment. Kept me off the Joshua Trees themselves, too. And in my book, the trees looked just as fun to climb. Don’t know why they’re not more popular for climbing.

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Brilliant cactus flowers. Does it spoil the beauty if I mention that we spotted these particular flowers in the parking lot and not on the nature trails? The parking lot had the best flowers, by far. It’s kind of like getting off a plane, grabbing food at the airport and then never eating anything better in the city you’re visiting.

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This Joshua Tree dances like it’s having a heart attack.

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This rock is very contemplative. He’s thinking “How the hell am I going to get out of here?” Like me, he has a pronounced forehead. Unlike me, he’s able to grow well-defined sideburns.

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A Joshua Tree branch broke off, and the hollow stump that resulted has clearly grown a mouth. It said some pretty messed-up things and I didn’t like that. Things I fed the mouth, to no discernible effect: a dime, a Riccola, sand, and a kangaroo rat.

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I was struck by the beauty of this bare-branched tree, and I won’t cheapen it by making a stupid joke.

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This close-up of the tree looks a desert landscape, though a different kind of desert than the one in which Joshua Tree is situated.

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Quite a few yucca plants were readying to bloom when we passed through. This did not escape the notice of the bees. I saw one yucca in full bloom. This especially did not escape the notice of the bees, and I consequently don’t have any pictures of it. The bees were firmly in charge. They knew what they were doing. I didn’t want to interfere.

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While the flowering yucca stood a few inches taller than I do, the vast majority of flowering plants in the park seemed to adopt the strategy of sticking as close to the ground as possible, sort of how you’re instructed to do when you’re escaping a burning house. The similarity is not coincidental, I’m sure.

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Really, if you just stop and look at you’re feet, you see all makes and models of tiny flowers, growing like moss and each boasting its own miniscule ecosystem. For much of the trail, you walk on them.

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This rock formation looks like a snail wearing a gnome hat.

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This is what the snail-in-gnome hat would look like if it were viewed from slightly behind a yucca flower. (Not photoshopped.)

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And from this angle, you can see that the snail wasn’t a snail at all: It was a penguin. And to the penguin’s left, it has a little baby, which is a Yoshi head for some reason. I love geology.

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I wish elementary school nurses would make children look at a photo of this tree during scoliosis examinations.

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And, finally, here is Spencer. We hiked up to Keys View, which provides a view of the Salton Sea and, on an especially clear day, sometimes Mexico maybe. We saw the sea, but weren’t sure if Mexico was visible or not. I’d like to think that this explanatory plaque would have pointed it out had it been functional the day we visited. Now I don’t know what’s what. I could be looking an Mexico right now, for all I know, but I can’t say for certain, because of this unhelpful plaque.

All in all, however, a good day. A major negative that I’m still a little miffed about: We didn’t see U2 there. I think maybe they were hiding on top of the tall rocks.

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