Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Edge

Something about long car rides, they get me thinking.  It seems that hurtling along a freeway at 80 mph is the perfect catalyst for brain activity.  No matter if its driver, passenger, full car, or just me, it seems I always slip away into my own head for however long the ride takes.  Not saying I'm just a mute for a whole ride, no one would drive with me.  I chat and make jokes and entertain conversation but I feel a disinvestment in it.  Its hard to fake not being completely immersed in my passing surroundings, save for the fact that my one excuse would be "this is my first time in the desert."

We left Tempe and Phoenix and traveled through a wide open urban/suburban sprawl that seemed to reach for miles, until it subsided to trailer parks and vast empty lots with "for sale, 5000 acres" signs and evidence of some vague preliminary construction.  Little bright green grass farms tapered off into unfilled irrigation ditches and parched sands.  It seemed the desert was the only thing surviving the journey westward towards Joshua Tree.  Soon after we left the city and its withering stretched out fingers we entered complete wilderness.  The road was the only sign of civilization aside from large telephone and electric lines traveling along with us.  It was as if the further we went the more the sand crept up against the shoulders of the interstate, the mountains loomed larger and more comfortably on the horizon, and the more I felt like I was entering a space that was not my own.  

There was a strange comfort in it, unlike an intruder crossing a forbidden threshold.  I felt more like I was being welcomed into the outstretched arms of big sky and big country.

The only sign of man out here is the staccato tick marks of rumble strips. 

While we were at Joshua Tree we had the interesting and pleasurable experience of meeting a couple other fellow climbers who we cooked a fireside dinner with and talked over cold tecates.  Apparently Arizona is crossing out calendar boxes until the day they literally run out of water.  All the while, cafe and sushi-goers in Tempe and Scottsdale alike enjoy misting devices while they dine on outside patios simply to cool them off in the thick of the summer.  Everything in the city limits is so well developed it seems its gotten to the point where its reached a fever pitch of non-sustainability.  While dry cracks and barren lots seem to edge closer inward rather than be stifled and stretched further, the city-goers enjoy water waste in a blissfully decadent and unabashed manner.  To boot, while this waste goes unchecked and seemingly uncared for, the Dept. of Agriculture and the US Gov are buying up water rights for large ski areas, allowing them to use reprocessed water rich in birth control hormones leached from surrounding water waste systems, this disrupts reproductive processes in surrounding ecosystems, most noticeably with amphibians and reptiles in the area.  All the politics aside (something I really want to steer away from), it seems as if nature is slowing creeping back to claim its right on the land.

The sign next to this one said "Reserved Parking Only"

The brink seems like quite an interesting place.

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