Jon Kennedy
Jon Kennedy

Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
the Nanty Glo in My Mind

A short desert vacation

Last week my brother Bob, from Willows, California by way of Vintondale, and I took a short vacation trip to the Southern California town of Palm Desert, just down Interstate 10 from Palm Springs. Big Bro has longtime friends living there now and had visited twice before and was so enthusiastic about it that I wanted to experience it, too. I had been to Palm Springs only once before, driving through one evening just to say I had done it, but never spent time there. My sons and I did an unforgettable trip to Death Valley the week before Easter when they were in their early teens and we've often driven through part of the Mojave Desert via Interstate 40 out of Barstow to points East, but this is farther south than either of those.

April is often called the best time to visit the desert, because if it gets any rain in that year it's likely to be then, and if that happens the desert will be abloom. Though Bob's friend Jessie has lived in Palm Desert for three years, she had seen it rain only once before this month, but they did get some earlier this month and sure enough, wildflowers were seen in abundance. April is also good because it's neither too cold or too hot; we felt pretty hot on 85-degree afternoons there last week, but they are nothing compared with 110 degrees which is not unusual later in the year.

The seven-minute video above is divided between our visit to Joshua Tree National Park, about 40 miles north of Palm Desert, and footage taken in Sun City, a Palm Desert retirement resort community where Jessie and others we visited reside. Near the end is a short clip of me singing a verse of a hymn accompanied by an accomplished pianist in a side trip we made to Desert Hot Springs where a retired minister friend of Bob lives.

Joshua trees are not actually trees, not "wood" but desert plants of the yucca family, though they have branches and stand as high as 40 feet and look like trees of a palm variety and even often grow in treelike groves in some parts of the desert. The national park is divided between part of the Mojave Desert, which is called "high desert," and Colorado Desert, which is at a lower elevation and thus has different species of plantlife than the high desert. At the bottom of the lower desert is the Salton Sea, a salt lake similar to the Dead Sea between Israel and Jordan and the Great Salt Lake in Utah. We got only a glimpse of it as we descended from the mountain down from the national park to the Coachella Valley.

I couldn't resist adding a soundtrack of America singing "A Horse With No Name," a memorable hit song from 1972, with the refrain, "I've been through the desert | on a horse with no name | It felt good to be out of the rain } In the desert you can { remember your name | 'Cause there ain't no one | for to give you no pain."

Who could go on a trip to the desert without having that in the back of his mind?

— Webmaster Jon Kennedy



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C. S. Lewis (1898 - 1963)

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Jon Kennedy's latest book is The Everything Guide to C.S. Lewis and Narnia, now in stores, from Adams Media, F&W Publications. From May 9, 2007 through July 2, 2008 his blog entries or "Jonals" were articles inspired by readings in Lewis's work that didn't fit into the book. Click here for a list of all articles in the C.S. Lewis Overflow series. The book is available for purchase in support of the Liberty Museum in Nanty Glo and is also available on Amazon.



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