These pictures feel like they are from that illusive before- Do you know what I mean? It was before the world turned upside down, a different time and a different frame of mind. Between this day when we walked amongst the Joshua Trees and today, A LOT has changed, but sitting here, thinking back on these memories, I'm struck by all that has remained the same.
“It's the Joshua tree's struggle that gives it its beauty.”
-The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
We had planned the trip last fall, and in February we set out to visit family in California. At that point, only a few people were even wearing masks in the airports, and it didn't feel all that different from other trips we have taken (besides the fact that this was our first flight with two children!).
Before we headed out to see family and visit my hometown, we decided to drive down to Joshua Tree, just the four of us, to have our own little vacation. When you live far away from family, it is tempting to spend all of your vacation time just visiting them, but we've realized in recent years that we need to make an extra effort to make our own memories too.
It was such a luxury to have my family all to myself, experiencing something for the first time and experiencing it together. The rest of the world could not have felt further away.
We stayed in a cool desert Airbnb complete with hammocks and a jacuzzi. The stars were amazing at night, and we all enjoyed the new sights and perfect weather (especially coming from Minnesota!). We did the Barker Dam trail, a nice loop that even Annie enjoyed. The scenery, the exercise, the weather- it was all a breath of fresh air that left us rejuvenated and ready to return to reality.
Of course we couldn't have known at the time how quickly the world would change after we returned home. But when I look at these pictures, all I can think of is how lucky we were to have made those memories AND how lucky we are to be together now. So much of the outside world has faded away these last few months. Our home has become our haven, and our little family has become our world.
I've heard that the Joshua Trees got their name because they reminded early settlers of the prophet Joshua raising his hands up the sky in prayer. Whether or not that's true, I will always feel a bit of reverence when I think of this place and say a little prayer of gratitude- gratitude for the trip, gratitude for this special time together now, and gratitude for whatever comes next, because whatever the future holds, I get to face it with these people :)