Music has always played an important part of my life. From early pop tunes to the folk movement to the psychedelic Sixties, music painted pictures inside my head. In high school, it was the teen beat, heart throb, lost love affairs of innocent youth. In college, it was the folkie, hard travelin', songs of the open road.
One particular song defined the breakup of my college girlfriend and I. ‘Where have all the Flowers Gone’ continues to define that era and a poignant reminder of my wandering youth on a circuitous route to maturity. The song and that moment was an element in my life that was at once pleasant, impactful and created visceral memories to last a lifetime.
So when I thought about this past season in Palm Springs, the song title ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone’ just naturally popped into my head. This fall and winter was unlike any other we’ve encountered here in the desert. It was as dramatic and impactful as any drought that has plagued California over the years. Pardon the pun but it could best be described as a flowerless experience.
Instead of exercising at our local hotel, the Saguaro, it meant long walks along the berm or back into Oswalt Canyon.
Instead of weekly trips to the library, it meant buying our reading material from ‘Better World Books.’ Instead of a lot of entertaining, it meant intimate gatherings of a few folks on our back patio.
There were no trips to the coast, no evenings out with friends at local restaurants, no trips to the theater, no local events such as the International Film Festival or Modernism Week or Art Festivals to attend.
There were a few improvements around the house and some literary accomplishments.
My newest novel ’Playground for the Devil’ was finally completed, proofed and ready for printing.
Four new plays were rewritten and tightened up, creating a solid second draft for all of them. Another new play ‘Frenchy’s Eats’ is just beginning to take shape.
By late spring, Palm Springs was slowly starting to open up again. We weren’t comfortable going out to restaurants so it was wonderful to have Melanie and family here for Easter. We get to see the Colorado kiddos this summer.
Besides lemon picking each day, I took Brennan and Charlotte on a nature hike along the Henderson Trail. It was a great opportunity to introduce them to ‘the living desert.’ We explored budding plants, snake holes, moss on rocks and dormant plants.
Even with the vaccine making headway against the COVID-19 pandemic, I envision this upcoming summer will continue to be one of at least moderate isolation. I want to continue with my ‘coffee and chat’ sessions and expand the number of friends included in the group. I want to explore the Twin Cities with a new-found curiosity about the place where I was raised. There are several plays I want to market locally and find markets for ‘Playground for the Devil.’
Hopefully by next fall, the ‘flowers’ will have returned to Palm Springs and we can get back into the swing of things once again.