We're heading out of the Palm Springs area and making our way to Joshua Tree National Park. I look out the car window and see a clear blue sky and the blazing sun beating down on the gently swaying palm trees. Ah, Southern California.
Just an hour prior, we were regrouping. A client threw a lofty goal our way, so we were in a coffee shop frantically multi-tasking and busting out a bunch of work. After a focused couple of hours, it was time to switch gears again. It was time for an adventure. We didn't have a firm plan, but we jumped in the car and started east down highway 10.
As we drive, we do some life-scaping – a common combo for us. We also talk about how days like this are pretty routine in our world. Sometimes we move racer fast, other times we're more snail like. At times we have a plan, but it often gets upended. Change is the only constant.
We laugh about our jealousy of bamboo – firm yet flexible. We're (usually) content to embrace change – to groove with whatever comes our way. The last months have been a good test of this. As we approach the park, we reaffirm our commitment to be even more pliable, more in the moment, more open to what is.
We enter the Park from the south – the Cottonwood side – and are immediately taken by the particularly barren terrain, dotted with ocotillos and cholla cactus. Coming from the lush Pacific Northwest, we are in awe.
Heading north and west, it's not long before our surroundings change dramatically. Extensive stands of the parks namesake, the joshua tree, start popping up everywhere as do the mysterious rockpiles that we have heard so much about.
We wonder where this came from all of the sudden? We alternate between roaming around and simply sitting quietly, enjoying our surroundings. We are baffled by the change in scenery.
Before exiting the park on the west side, the terrain shifted yet again. Our cheap rental car roared as we gained altitude. Soon, mountains – not dessert – became the star of the show.
Back at the hotel, researching what we had seen, we learned that Joshua Tree National Park houses three distinct ecosystems. The Colorado Desert, on the south side, quickly bleeds into the slightly higher, moister Mojave Desert. The third ecosystem, with the mountains (and even pine trees), lies above 4000 feet.
One national park, offering three distinct ecosystems that magically blend together before park visitors' eyes.
On this day, talking about the whirlwind of change that is life, we got some amazing reinforcement by witnessing the way that Joshua Tree National Park effortlessly and beautifully makes the seemingly incongruous appear perfectly placed. Just like life.