I first saw a Joshua tree in 1987. This tree was on the back cover of one of my favorite albums… U2’s fifth and probably most popular album, aptly named “Joshua Tree.” Back then, I knew pretty much zilcho about the Joshua tree. I actually thought there was just one Joshua tree… one single, magnificent tree in the barren desert of the Western United States.
Now, of course, I know differently. Joshua trees, or Yucca brevifolia, are yucca palms which are quite plentiful in the Mojave Desert regions of California and Nevada (and small parts of Arizona and Utah).
Joshua Tree is the namesake of a national park in California which is absolutely filled with these palms, each seeming to have its own personality. Furthermore, Joshua Tree is the name of a most interesting community with a population of around 7,500 individuals. The park I guess you can say is part of the community… after all, the community is because the park is.
This past summer, I made my first trek to Joshua Tree National Park. Boulder mountains, all sorts of cactus plants, entertaining jack rabbits, and adorable chipmunks seemed to co-exist in perfect harmony with the Joshua trees galore. I rarely find a park I don’t love, but Joshua Tree Park… it was definitely special, undeniably unique, and to me, particularly endearing.
The park…. I figured I would love before I became a visitor. What I didn’t expect, was that I likewise fell practically in love with the community of Joshua Tree. Perhaps, “fell in love” is a bit strong, but… the area definitely did something for me. It moved me, awakened me, relaxed me, endeared itself to me. You see, I seek vibes when I travel. Joshua Tree emits all sorts of vibes for the individual open to the unique, the unusual, the eclectic, and the spirited.
And so I returned to Joshua Tree earlier this month. Once again, I found myself enamored with this unique community… It was easy to let my mind wander and imagine this place being home… imagine what it must be like to be part of such a laid-back, casual community tucked in the middle of the desert among the thousands of Joshua trees.