An Ode to the Desert
2020.03.18Aileen Lee

An Ode to the Desert

Stretches of land, wild and free,
A gesture of resilience stems from the trees,
Vivacious, strong — the Joshua stood,
Resisting desert ailments, as survivors would.

They branched from the earth, like nature’s hands,
To deliver a note, a message from the lands:

Nature is ambiguous, but nature is kind,
She extends her help when all else decline,
Oasis will form where the stark desert stands,
Riches found, even in the driest of lands.

Year 2020 was supposed to be my year of travelling.

First stop would have been Asia — with three weddings to attend in Phuket, Hong Kong and Bali throughout the month of March. Next was a two month backpacking trip around Europe with my partner. It was meant to be a trip for us to explore new cultures, absorb design inspiration, meet more artists and perhaps to seek a new secondary base for Vestige.

Of course, we all know how the story actually progressed. COVID-19 happened, and the world was plunged into the chaotic state of a pandemic. I came home to Vancouver just in time from a trade show in Los Angeles, and had to hastily cancel all of my travel plans.

While many of us are quarantined at home, and will likely stay isolated for the upcoming weeks, I will use this down time to share stories. Let me begin with my most recent escape — two days in Joshua Tree.

We stayed at the Earth House built by one of our Mindful Creatives Kelly Brown (more of her story and her home to come), and spent some magical hours in the desert land.

When I think of deserts, I think of lifeless lands and harsh weather conditions.

Contrary to the stereotypes in my head, we were greeted with a pleasing, mild spring-time breeze and a gentle sun. They say that March is a great time to visit the Joshua Tree national park, and I absolutely agree. 

The stark landscapes were characterized by majestic, rugged rocks that towered to the skies. Twisted, bristled Joshua Trees swept the horizons, accompanied by the small, adorable Cholla cacti. No sound was heard save the tender shuffling of our own footsteps, the occasional call from birds in the sky, and the sporadic rumble from the passing cars on nearby roads. The land looked endless — and the vast uncertainty may seem scary at times. Yet, the park felt safe, the desert welcoming. The tranquil scenery was perfect for a quiet afternoon sketch, for some creative brainstorming, and for a day to unhook from the rest of the world. 

When the sun fell, the park slipped into an array of blues and pinks.

With nothing obstructing the skies, we were enveloped by a most beautiful sunset. Peachy flecks of light danced on the mountain rocks. The dried leaves of the trees were dyed a beautiful, vibrant coral. The stillness and quietness were further amplified. It is in moments like this where giant, towering trees are able to remind ourselves that no matter what pain we carry, we are but a small dot on the planet. Our sufferings, too, will pass.

And during this difficult times where we are all fighting against the COVID-19 virus in our own way, we can only take things in one day at a time. Hang in there!

I am looking forward to the day when our world heals, travelling resumes, small businesses are back on track, and we can continue again with lighter hearts.

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