For a year, my girlfriend worked at one of the most taxing, abusive, and demanding jobs I've ever seen someone undergo. She busted her ass for a year, frequently pulling 60-hour work weeks. Every Sunday, the coming week seemed unbearable to experience. Her strength and fortitude somehow carried her through every day, week, and month until she was finally able to make it to one year. At the one year mark, her equity would vest. Her shares had valued multiple times over in the course of the year, constantly enlarging the carrot at the end of the stick. Its allure was undeniable. She'd be able to pay off her student loans from her upper graduate degree. She knew if she bit down and bulled day in and day out for a year, she could change her life.
When that money hit her bank account, it became hers and no one else's. The thousands of hours spent toiling in frustration, self doubt, and angst quite literally paid off. To celebrate her and to close the chapter of her life that was her last job, I took us to Palm Springs, CA. It may sound odd that Palm Springs, of all places, was the big trip, but she deserved to go wherever she wanted.
Thus we went; film cameras in tow.
Joshua Tree National Park truly provides a surreal, alien planet-like landscape complete with rounding outcrops of boulders, stark, naked hills, and of course, the iconic Joshua Tree.
The life that has evolved there is stunning. Everything is rugged and has a dramatic rawness. Seen together, that rawness gives way to beauty. Though, the rawness is beautiful in itself.
In less than an hour, you can go from the desert basin to high up in the mountains. As you climb up and up, you leave the arid plain of the desert and enter the pine forest of the alpine altitudes. We were amazed to see just how much snow was still on the ground. As Central Texans living a few hundred feet above sea level, this was novel.
Moving back to Joshua Tree, the park itself was of course incredible, but the mundanity of the town that lay just outside of it piqued interest as well.
We had a great time. The desert certainly is alive with its own magic. It escapes my lens, of course. I certainly recommend Joshua Tree for anyone and everyone.
Get outside. Go camp. Get away from your mundane job. It probably isn't that important. See that the world does have a vibrance to it, especially when it's void of our daily toil.
I learned from this trip that I miss photography. I miss shooting on film. I've moved away from the curious and innocent kid that loved exploring new places and documenting them on film. I'm trying to find him again.