Living the high desert of Southern California, I hear two things consistently:
“I’m sorry.” Yes, people apologize to me when they tell them I live in Victorville. For those who live down the hill in San Bernardino or Los Angeles, Victorville and the High Desert Communities are the middle of nowhere. But the truth is, it isn’t. I live ninety minutes from some of the best skiing, camping, and hiking in the country. It’s two hours from the best beaches in the world. And sixty minutes to three hours, depending on traffic, to some of the best music and theater venues in the solar system (okay, maybe I exaggerate a little.) I like that I easy access to both nature and culture.
“The weather must be boring. You’re either roasting or freezing.” Most think Southern California as a whole doesn’t have seasons, but that is misconception held by those who live in a place where the seasons are spectacular. Yes, it can be extremely hot in the summer, 120o degrees Fahrenheit, but it will cool down at night, unlike Las Vegas, NV. Autumn is cool, crisp, and golden as the mulberries and cottonwoods turn bright yellow; if we’re lucky we might get a little rain. Winter is our wet session. The surrounding mountains are blanketed with snow. Sometimes the desert valley will get snow or frost and when the sun reflects off the Joshua trees the effect is a crystalline landscape. This year, the rains were plentiful, so that means spring will be colorful, and so it has.
We are transitioning from winter to spring, and the desert is draped with wildflowers. This brings the big city folks out into the desert and with them a few traffic issues.
I went out into the desert this week, early before the tourist arrived, and enjoyed the colorful show. They are starting to fade and may only last another week or so. The most crowded location was the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Park, but I also visited the empty Saddleback Butte State Park, Old Route 66 between Victorville and Barstow, and Rabbit Springs heading east toward Lucerne Valley.
If you decide to come out, remember to bring water and sunscreen, stay on the paths to not only avoid damaging the flowers but also the emerging rattlesnakes. Also, if you are blessed to see a desert tortoise, DON’T TOUCH! The tortoise is very susceptible to human bacteria.
The seasons are not the only thing in transition this time of year, so are the people. I have three friends beginning final preparations for retirement in June. This moved me to look at my planning, if all goes well, I will retire from the school district June 2022. It seems so far away, but it’s only six years.
And what will I do when I retire? Write, of course. At this time, I only write about fifteen hours a week. I look forward when I can do it full time.
Until next time . . .
The door is always open, and the kettle is always on.