Blog California

I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

January 20, 2022

I have been nowhere and done nothing since last October. For a start, it’s just too COVIDy out there right now. Also, it’s cold. I don’t even like to walk back and forth to my car when it’s this cold.

Someone from the midwest is going to read this and go, “Haha California girl complaining about the 42-degree temperatures haha.” I’m comfortable with that.

In honor of the “cold,” I’m going to take you all to the desert. For this trip we have to go way back to the summer of 2020, when the pandemic still pretty new and we really, really needed to get out of the house but really, really also needed to find a place that was devoid of most human occupation, for obvious reasons. Also we had this Fourth Grader Pass burning a hole in our pockets (our youngest just had to be in the fourth grade during the worst year of the pandemic didn’t he?)

It’s not a turkey vulture but it totally should be.

By the way if you don’t know about the Fourth Grader Pass, if you have a kid in the fourth grade you can sign up for a pass that will get you and everyone in your family into any national park in the country for free (you do have to actually bring your fourth grader though). The pass even works for Alcatraz, which otherwise would cost more than $200 for a family of six.

Anyway, we decided to head south to visit a couple of national parks: Sequoia and Joshua Tree. Sequoia because of General Sherman, obviously (the biggest living thing in the world) and Joshua Tree mostly just so we could drive around Joshua Tree National Park while listening to U2’s “The Joshua Tree.”

This is what passes for a forest in Joshua Tree National Park.

I wrote about Joshua Tree National Park back in 2020 so if you want to read about some of the bizarre and unfortunate things that have happened there, well, here you go. Otherwise let’s just talk about Joshua trees.

Joshua trees aren’t even really trees — they’re succulents that look kind-of sort-of like trees. According to legend, they were named by Mormon pioneers, who thought they resembled the biblical Joshua raising his arms towards heaven, you know, if Joshua was weirdly hairy and his arms were covered with thorns. And he had six of them.

The yucca moth is the Joshua tree’s one and only pollinator. This means if anything ever happens to the yucca moth, Joshua Tree National Park will have to change its name because without any Joshua trees, its name would be dumb.

Fortunately, the yucca moth is nowhere near endangered. This makes it kind of unique among pollinators, which are suffering a worldwide decline in numbers. But hey, we’re humans, I’m sure we’ll find some way to mess up the Joshua tree and/or the yucca moth at some point. It’s what we do.

I’m not sure who used to live here but he made some very poor life choices.

By the way if you read this post’s title and are now thinking to yourself, “I have no idea what that has to do with Joshua trees,” you are clearly not as old as I am.