OK, OK, I know you've been anxiously waiting to hear about my adventures. I spent last weekend camping in Joshua Tree with my mother. It was car camping, meaning that you pull up to an assigned spot, but we slept in a tent like good Girl Scouts.
Saturday we arrived at Black Rock campground, set up camp and then set off on a hike exploring the surrounding area. It was surprising how quickly we ended up in the outback unable to see our tent or my car! Only the sounds of birds and the wind through the trees and cactus.
I was told quite a few times not to expect flowers, but there were tons of blooms. Cactus boasted red, pink, yellow and green flowers, while wildflowers burst in patches of purple, blue, yellow and white. It was beautiful.
The wind picked up in the afternoon, so I took my mom to Pappy and Harriet's in Pioneertown for a late lunch. There was a bluegrass band and the grub was great. We got back to camp and it was too blustery for a campfire. As darkness fell, we went inside the tent and chatted until we were ready to sleep.
The next morning it was raining lightly, but we didn't care. We were off to the Integratron in Landers. The Integratron is this strange dome-shaped building that is supposedly built over the junction of three underground rivers in the middle of a strong magnetic field. The man who built it hoped that visitors would receive benefits of health, renewal and possibly even stopping the aging process. Three sisters now own the Integratron and open its doors on various weekends for tours and sound baths.
For the sound bath, you go upstairs in the Integratron and lay down on the wooden floor. You can use a yoga mat, blankets or other comfy stuff provided or bring your own. One of the sisters tells a little bit of the history of the building and then she plays a series of crystal bowls. The sound is supposed to stimulate your chakras from your toes to the crown of your head.
Now I don't know about all this new agey stuff, but I do know that the music is among the most beautiful I have ever heard and it's soooo relaxing that I can't even move for 5-10 minutes after the concert is over.
My mother has a pretty open mind with a touch of skepticism, still she played along. She was very quiet when the session ended and then finally told me that she had no pain anywhere. My mom had been run over by a car when I was a child and has always had pain. Also, she held out her hands, which have arthritis, and all her fingers were straight and much of the swelling had gone down!
Weird! I don't care if it's chakras, magnetics, deep relaxation or all in her head, but as of yesterday my mother was still pain free so it's all good as far as I'm concerned.
The rain cleared and gave way to sun, although it was still a tad chilly. On the way back from Landers, my mom spotted the Pioneertown sign and asked if we could back to Pappy & Harriet's and I obliged. No music this time, but the coffee was hot and the peanut butter pie rocked!
Back at camp we took a long walk. During part of our hike, we wandered through camp. It was pretty desolate. I checked the space tags and it appeared that many of the campers had given up with the wind and rain and left. It was cool to have the place to ourselves! We enjoyed the sunset and had a campfire before calling it a night.
Monday morning there was an odd noise outside the tent... and it kept getting closer. Curious, I unzipped the door a bit and peeked out- a plucky quail peeked back in at me. He then made a little sound (the odd noise) and returned to scratching around for bugs. I guess I wasn't threatening or interesting enough!
We packed up camp and took our time driving through the main part of Joshua Tree Monument. We stopped when we saw something interesting (like bighorn sheep) and even walked around when the mood struck (like the Cholla Garden). I continued out the back way down an odd road toward Mecca, then picked up the 111 and took my mom to the Oasis Date Farm in Thermal. We had shakes and shopped. Then it was home, home, home.
The remainder of my week has been busy with interviews, such as local rockers Evertheory (as talented as they are good looking!) and two-time Grammy winning composer and musician Billy Childs.
Tonight, if I'm not too tired, I'm planning to check out Throttle at Rude Dog in Covina. I will attend Ronnie James Dio's memorial on Sunday.
Next week I'm gearing up for the Art Bender weekend at McGinty's Gallery at the End of the World in Altadena. Don't miss the fun- visit http://www.galleryattheendoftheworld.com/ for all the info.
In rotation this week: I actually made a point of not listening to music or news during my time in Joshua Tree- nature provided all the soundtrack I needed, which was very cathartic. But I have caught some Tom Petty, Orange Sky and The Randies since.
Photos we got 'em: Just a few animal pics from the usual Web spots and a wonderful image of Dio in concert taken by Keith Durflinger.
Thought o' the Week: Be open to the unexpected. The experience at the Integratron reminded me of how much we long for the concrete in life. We often want proof of things or to see something for ourselves before we are willing to believe in it.
Being surrounded by nature it's hard not to believe that there must be a higher power and that we are here for a purpose, even if it's only to tend to its "garden." The higher power is not tangable, but you can see it in everything around you. This makes you better appreciate what you have, most importantly the gift of life.
As far as the Integratron, again I am on the fence when it comes to all those New Age ideas. I think if something makes you feel happy and healthy it's a good thing (as long as it doesn't hurt someone else). It's easy to say that my mom's relief is all in her head or she's simply wanting it to be so, therefore to her it is. I'd rather open myself to the possibility of there being something to the Integratron. I know when I've been there I feel peaceful, calm and happy. Could that just be all in my head? Or could it be good vibes are really radiating there?
Open yourself to the unexpected. Don't be afraid to try something new even if it seems a little weird. You may find the surprise opens your eyes to a whole new world.
Keep on rockin'