Joshua Tree National Park

 

Spending a few days in Palm Springs was the first trip Hubby and I have made in…one year, two months, and twelve days. Our four housebound walls suddenly stretched to infinity and beyond. Such space! Once the shock wore off, I’m pretty sure our next reaction was universal: time for margaritas by the pool.

After that, we went exploring.

Our day trip to Joshua Tree National Park was possible because of moderate spring-time weather, a gentle sky, and a chilly wind. We drove from scenic points to high desert overlooks and through prickly cacti meadows. We hiked to the top of Ryan Mountain and along massive rock and boulder trails where climbers scaled their heights, tethered only with a rope or two.

Joshua trees aren’t actual trees, but the world’s largest yucca plants. On average, they live to be 500 years old but they say the oldest could be 1,000 years old. They bloom around April or May, but we missed the event and found only the remains of the conical blooms at the ends of their branches.

The Mojave Desert carries its own unique ambiance. The air is distinctly distilled, stripped of tomfoolery and run through a sandstone purifier. It serves your oxygen at an elemental level. Occasionally, with velocity. It commands respect.

And yet. There’s something about Joshua trees that brings Dr. Suess to mind. Skull Rock will forever link to Peter Pan. The landscape presents ample space for the imagination and the opportunity to slow down, spread out, and breathe in a fresh perspective. An unexpected trip outside the box.

Ride along and tell me what the park makes you think of…

From the Desk of Dr. Jones

 

I never chose the detective life. Like the ability to land on my feet, I discovered it the hard way. You have to accept your destiny because fighting it lands you in a plastic cone with one almighty hangover.

But I digress. Allow me to introduce myself properly.

My name is Dr. Indiana Jones. Indy to my close friends. Dr. Jones to the rest of you. SugarNose FluffButt ChunkyMonkey TinyToeBeans to my adoptive family, but sometimes they just squeal at me and it’s basically the same thing.

How do you do?

As to pedigree, my birth mother was a streetwise alleycat from Ramona, and I assume most of my smarts come from her. I never knew my father, but I do thank him for the gift I have of becoming invisible and undiscoverable when I choose to be. I could have come from Otay Mesa and had a fabulous accent too, but we won’t cry over spilt milk. I’m a gray striped tabby with an elusive ginger coat beneath it, the product of a million cats on the wrong side of the tracks.

Kit-napped.

As to history, my brother and I were kidnapped at three weeks old, ripped from our mother’s arms and advertised as orphans. While we certainly knew better, one cannot overestimate the amount of fame and fortune this brought us. There is something about an underdog that makes humans reach for their wallets. (The word ‘underdog’ is an oxymoron. Dogs are both the Roomba and the rulers in the kingdom of pets. Annotation: this article.) Destiny plucked me from the gutters and a life of crime and dropped me on the straight and narrow.

It didn’t hurt too bad.

The two of us were divided between neighboring homes, and while we make an effort to visit over the holidays, we are comfortable with our own space. I admit to owning an entire family to myself, living in a penthouse with views into treetops filled with birds, having my meals served on golden plates, and when the mood strikes, strolling through lush gardens and giving the lizards a stern talking to.

Born ready.

Childhood is fleeting. All chance of remaining a small cuddly puff with large innocent eyes vanished within a fortnight. With age comes responsibility and, if one must be honest (and one must), a respectable paunch and whiskers substantial enough to firmly establish one’s presence in the room. The bachelor life is welcome, and if I’ve gained twenty pounds and can span the length of five feet in a proper lounge by my first birthday, I’d say it’s a testament to my good country genetics and the ability to accept myself for who I am.

Practicing presence.

Now that you understand a little of my background, you can appreciate that becoming a detective was, for me, the most natural thing in the world.

Investigation skills.

No cup unturned.

My capacity for observation is not to be underestimated. I can see in the dark. I can sense vibrations in the atmosphere. My nose tells me where my humans have been and with whom. If a moth flutters past a windowpane on the other side of the house, I will hear it.

And I will hunt it down.

Going to shoelace jail.

I move with ninja stealth, mete out justice with a firm hand, and haul the criminals to prison. The death penalty is fraught with politics. I won’t discuss the subject, even over a bottle of port.

Other qualifications include studies in academics, physics, calculus and so forth, and Nerf weapons training. I have a concealed carry permit, but I’ve been known to stop criminals in their tracks with one hard look. Intellect and finesse renders violence unnecessary.

Educated.

The stories that follow are cases I deem tolerable for public consumption. In all modesty, they are pieces of my finest work. I hope they will inspire other tabbies to use their powers for good.

The pondering pear.