Today there was a mere 16% humidity in my little dwelling, even measured next to the jungle of plants I bought because The Internet told me they would add moisture to my surroundings. 16% is, um, rather dry. My nose and throat and eyes and ear channels are angry with me. However, I have had tremendous success with the wide assortment of glop I spread all over my body and the cotton gloves and socks I wear to sleep at night in order to to combat the cracking of my skin. Back in Hawaii, I ran three dehumidifiers throughout my house to fight the wet. At least in my little room here in the desert I only run one humidifier. Oh the resources we humans employ to change environments to suit us.
Yet – in spite of all that fussing – the outdoor weather is near perfect: big, bright skies; warm breezy days; and clear if rather cold nights. Just the 360 degree view of the valley’s mountains is worth the price of admission. And it’s super quiet, except for the daytime watery wupwup of the quail in the yard, the cawcaw of the raven couples who tumble lovingly in the sky above my head, or the wush of the roadrunners dashing to their important business; and except for the nights the live Mexican bands play their bouncy music or the hippies down the street bongo the night away.
Those hippies keep a tortoise for a pet, and its pen is situated along the road for all to enjoy. On the day I took the photo below, the tortoise was playing? chasing? in love with? the dog in the pen. I have no idea, but it was a sight to see.
I had lunch at a small and crowded restaurant today, and a man and a young girl wound up sharing a table with me. I’d noticed a Hawaiian design on the man’s shirt, but the logo read OCC, which I assumed had to do with nearby Orange County and the design was a riff on a Hawaiian theme. With the close proximity, we began a conversation, and no, it was not an Orange County shirt, it was an Oahu swim club logo: my seatmate was from Hawaii. What are the chances? We chatted and established, by Hawaii cultural law, who our mutual acquaintances might be (there were a few). And here’s a funny thing: when we parted ways, I, without thinking, flashed the shaka sign, something I would never, ever do back in Hawaii. Funny how 3000 miles can alter behavior.
I visited the aptly named Sunnylands botanical garden today. The plots of native and drought-resistant plants are arrayed in precise and orderly rows – no random explosions of color or shape as found in nature – similar to the hundreds of orderly subdivisions that have been imposed on the monochromatic sands of this desert. This area is nothing if not controlled and managed. That is until one day: the San Andreas fault rests just beneath the roads and malls and manicured lawns. I think about the San Andreas fault daily, about the ensuing chaos of earthquakes, which is weird, and probably a remnant of my Shaking Summer of 2018.
If you wonder about the last photo, for some odd reason the desert garden gift shop offered patchwork hippos for sale.
Note: one regret of leaving Hawaii: losing easy, abundant access to fabulous avocados. To those I left behind in Hawaii: cherish the avos. You may not know how lucky you are.
Request: I’m having a heck of a time trying to decide about a vehicle purchase for my future gambols across North America. Today I test drove a new Honda Odyssey, the 12th vehicle I’ve checked out. All of them have had flaws: too many miles on the odometer, too low MPG, too short for me to sleep in, too complicated for me to manage. The Odyssey’s only flaw seems to be its cost. Your chiming in would be greatly appreciated.
Live all you can – it’s a mistake not to. Just ask this hippo.