I'm leaving the desert today. I'll be back, that's a certainty, though I wonder if future trips will be as restorative and perfectly inspiring as this one. Maybe more restorative. Perhaps someday I'll need the time away more than I did this time. But it won't ever be the same, and that's ok. If every trip needed to match the one before it, then I'd be too scared to ever return.
I'm excited to go home. And sad to leave here, too. But above all, I'm ready. What good is a vacation if you're not a little mournful to leave this other life you inhabited for a period of time? Likewise, what good did the vacation do if you leave feeling unfulfilled enough to go back to where you came from?
Joan Didion has been on my mind a lot since being here. Especially this last day as I'm getting ready to fly back to New York, and yet the idea of waking up in a plane over Manhattan seems so distantly absurd. She always represented both coasts to me—at least that's what I knew from her writing. New York's Joan Didion was the one I always felt close to, though. Now that I've been here to the desert, I feel both Joans tugging at me. Cool Joan of the desert, escaping from LA, surrounded by the humbling mountains, under the comforting Palm trees, and the beautiful sandy beiges, sky blues, and greens, too. Contradictions that all seem so right. And cool Joan. That quiet strength—so powerful for someone who's so frail in body—and the calm, confident feeling of being alone but never lonely. It's similar to New York and walking the streets, anonymous, yet surrounded by strangers—but precisely the opposite.