mojave calling

While Hashi put up the tent, K got the fire going

Our beautiful campsite

Desert Globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)

Hole-in-the-Wall Rings Trail

Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris)

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Hedgehog cactus

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Banshee Canyon

It’s becoming an April tradition, the birthday camping trip. Last year we went to Los Padres National Forest. The year before to Death Valley. This time, we went to Mojave (Mo-hah-vee, for you Australians) National Preserve and camped at Hole-in-the-Wall.

Ah, desert. I love its muted tones and barren vistas and surprising splashes of colour. It whispers ancient secrets that I cannot quite understand, but that I want to slow down and strain to hear. Despite the dust, it leaves me feeling cleansed in some way. It is the opposite of frenetic and riotous, the opposite of Los Angeles. There is no hurrying to be done in the desert.

We had such a lovely time. Except for when the wind got fierce in the night, and our tent became a flapping flailing beast for hours on end, and The Guy resorted to sleeping in the car. THAT part wasn’t fun. But the rest, the hiking and exploring and cooking and staring at the fire. Yep, that was all perfect, and exactly right for a birthday trip. I’m a happy girl.

lunch break

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Children in neon swimsuits, squealing. A plane and a kite, both soaring. Cartwheels. I kick off my sandals and sink into the warm sand.

A brother and sister are carting small pails of water to dump into the hole they dug. Running down to the waves, trotting back with their watery loads, over and over. Why didn’t they dig the hole closer to the shore, I wonder? But they are not concerned with efficiency, just with the joy and freedom of being out of school, of being able to run in the sun, back and forth.

She is panting. He asks, do you want more? Yes, she says. Much more. And after that, let’s go play.

birthday camping trip

With my birthday approaching, I knew how I wanted to celebrate it: getting grubby around a campfire. So the Guy + dog & I headed for the hills inland from Santa Barbara, where we found ourselves a place by a creek in the Los Padres National Forest.

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Due to recent rain, the brook was babbling ….

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… and the wildflowers were out.

Hours were spent hiking …

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… and staring at flames.

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The weather was perfect, and a good time was had by all.

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After two days, we took the high road home, scoping out possibilities for the next camping trip, which will require a 4WD. As I’ve been saying for, oh, six months now, I really do need to get myself one of them.

‘wonderful’ check-in #1

Winter sunsets are so gorgeous

Wonder-ful, for me, boils down to two things: paying attention, and gratitude.

So lucky to have access to a wealth of fresh seasonal organic veggies. Love my farmers market! #365gratitude_hashimaree

It’s easy to become despondent and disgusted when one pays attention. Obviously, there’s a lot of shit going down in the world. I don’t need to point out the ways in which humans hurt each other and the creatures sharing this planet with us. We all know there’s plenty of bad out there, and it’s important to pay attention to that crap, and speak up, and be the change you want to see in the world.

Grateful for silliness at work #365gratitude_hashimaree

For me, a huge part of being that change is noticing and celebrating and being thankful for the things that make me smile, that give me hope, that create connections, that make space for silent wonder. That’s why my one little word this year is wonderful.

Grateful for another day to live, laugh, and love in. #sunrise #365gratitude_hashimaree #noedit #nofilter

Not to be all ‘la-la-la I can’t hear you’ about the bad shit. But simply to give myself respite, and strength, and a reason to do my part to make this world better.

Thank you #bigbluebus for getting me to work this morning when my car was in the shop #365gratitude_hashimaree

Because it truly is a wonderful world we live in, and those other humans we rub against, they’re people like me. We’re (mostly) all trying to do our best with what we’ve got. If we all approached each day with gratitude, there might be more smiles all around.

Sunday afternoon jam session in the living room #365gratitude_hashimaree

It’s also important, I think, to create environments in which people can share, enjoy, relax, relish, have fun. If we are always wound up and unhappy about how messed up things are, how do we make space for things to be different?

Succulents are breeding!

While I totally respect those activists who pit themselves against oppression, right now my path seems more about an open table, good food, gardens, music, and kindness.

Yeah, so far my year’s pretty wonderful. How’s yours?

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