An uncommon sight in the Mojave National Preserve: snow, in the desert, and down below the 3500′ level.
As we drove, I explained to Aaron the difference between the “high deserts” and the “low deserts.” That difference was never starker than the week of December 23-30, when the demarcation between the two all but matched the snow-line.
All of which was a poignant reminder that the desert is not a single, simple climate zone, but can and does encompass a wide range of micro-climates as altitude and geography change, sometimes within a mile or two. Within each of these zones live varied but surprisingly diverse and and rich ecosystems camouflaged by what appear to the common observer to be desolate landscapes.
Of course, I am horribly biased: I do love the desert as much as I love the seashore, and the ache to live again in drier climes grows in me daily. Is it the Wandering Jew in my soul that misses these scenes? Does something inside of me yearn for Sinai and Galilee? Or do I simply treasure the solitude and the chance to commune in quiet with the Infinite, far from noise, crowds, and fog?
No matter. I will be back, and right soon.
The West Glacier stop, formerly the Belton Station on the old Great Northern Line. She’s a beauty in the snow.
Just north of San Luis Obispo we passed the California Men’s Institution. This is their Level II unit, a medium-security facility with open dorms.
Something I have long wondered about California prisons nestled in picturesque settings is the degree to which the setting itself is a form of punishment. To be incarcerated amid beauty that you can see but cannot enjoy makes me wonder if it is harsher to be here, or in a facility in the Mojave desert like USP Victorville.
As we pass by, entrained in comfort, I hear the Man in Black singing in my head.
I hear that train a comin’
Rolling round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine
Since I don’t know when
I’m stuck in Folsom Prison
And time keeps draggin’ on
But that train keeps a-rollin’
On down to San Antone
I bet there’s rich folks eatin’
In a fancy dining car
They’re probably drinkin’ coffee
And smokin’ big cigars
But I know I had it comin’
I know I can’t be free
But those people keep a-movin’
And that’s what tortures me
Songwriter: Johnny R. Cash
Folsom Prison Blues lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc
My first Lakers game since 1972.
My first time at Staples Center.
First b-ball game with my son.
A good day.
Mt. Charleston obscured, Red Rock Canyon below. It’s a warm, comfortable hotel room, but somehow I’d much rather be in a tent up there somewhere.
My wife thinks I am crazy. No doubt she is spot on.
This is what low blood-sugar looks like. Plus history.
Waiting to order our breakfast at the Outpost Cafe on US 395 and Route 66 in Hesperia, California.
Courtesy of the wonderful people at VirtualRailfan, this is what I am looking at outside my “office window” this morning: fresh snowfall on the tracks in La Plata, Missouri. Almost a postcard view.