Palm trees line one side of the straight-stretch asphalt road. The smell of the second rain is still heavy, as I drive my 1969 Mustang convertible through the base gate and on my way to the state park. As I approach the monument gate, I notice and smile at the sand flowers that bloom. An empty unmarked patch appears almost immediately; the gear seemingly shifts into neutral by itself as I apply the brake. A chill greets me as I open the door, so I grab my jeans jacket from the passenger seat, tying the arms around my waist. I want to feel the cold of the desert, remembering forever. A short walk and I am then scrambling up the lowest boulder where rock formations are solid, foundational. I see the Joshua trees spread out before me in asymmetrical fashion, growing out of the beautiful brown landscape. The shadows are disappearing, the first stars are peeping through the charcoal-washed sky. I close my eyes, focus my ears and hear the sound of silence. It is lovelier than a songbird tree or an orchestra playing Gershwin. I sit there transfixed until my backside is numb and chill bumps rise on my arms and legs. Stretching my limbs, I stand, untying the jacket arms. I listen for the last time.
wild flowers grow on concrete monument wild child speaks still