My mid-40s life circumstances, both positive and tragic, brought me to Joshua Tree as a resident. To improve my life and climb out of poverty I served the National Park Service for two years traveling in my thirty-foot RV. Living on the road, as I did, changes the face of relationships. Long-time friendships become phone and internet relationships. Facebook use is consequently limited by Park Service Government restrictions. I was blessed with wonderful and memorable co-worker relationships with extremely intelligent park service biologist, archeologist, and fellow educators. As wonderful as these connections were, by nature they were temporary. I was not lonely while on the road, I just did not establish permanent relationships.
Once I returned to California, I settled into Thousand Trails for the winter, preparing for a grand move to Joshua Tree to buy a house. On Christmas day, I lost my bunny Amber-Sun to an intestinal blockage. Still absorbed in grief over Amber-Sun, everything changed in a mere moment, when my RV burned down in a fire tragically killing my beloved kitties. Nothing would ever be the same again and I was lost to myself long after this catastrophe.
For the first two years of my whole new life in Joshua Tree, I did not have any friends and my only social occasion was the weekly farmers market. The strong community and art scene was impossible to miss, though I could only experience it from a peripheral viewpoint. My saving grace was my beautiful bunny Galaxy, who I adopted within days of moving into my new house.
A birthday party invitation changed everything. Suddenly I had friends, an artist’s community, and a fab-4 consisting of the three women with whom I made the strongest personal connection. I discovered an interesting phenomenon, the over 40 resurgence of the pack. I don’t know if this is unique to the high desert, or if it is something that happens with folks who either did not have kids or whose kids have reached adulthood possibly with their own kids. Not only did these folks take me into the foal, they were also creative kindred spirits. Best of all, Galaxy has been embraced wholeheartedly. My new community of artists and farmers market vendors have taken him into their hearts. Galaxy himself has mended and opened my broken heart enough to reach out to others. On top of this magical paradigm, is how much Galaxy has touched the lives of the people who have embraced him.
Inevitably, my drastic break from complete solitude has brought additional joys and sorrows of the intimate relationship. Ever present in the wonder, drama, and disappointments of my
relationships are my pack of friends, the vast universe strange and mysterious in the desert, and my beautiful, infinite Galaxy.