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Joshua Tree

We moved to the desert and it's magical. Here's the short version of how that came to be.

Joshua Tree, stormy skies, Nuria Reed

2020 nearly broke my spirit. It was one of the personally most painful and difficult years. Nothing went "right", in fact, I was constantly offered opportunities to dig deep into the ways in which I held myself back from love, the imprints of relational trauma in my body and spirit - stuff that was really affecting my life and my partnership.


Accelerated times of shadow work make sense, not in our regular life but belong to an archetypical experience - The "Heroine's Journey".


This mythic quest into the underworld to reclaim lost parts of self and become whole is reflected in stories across traditions. Psyche in the Greek myth makes such a journey, as does Inanna in Sumerian stories.
Joshua Tree, stormy skies, Nuria Reed

This quest sounds glorious in myth only. The reality of such an underworld journey, for me anyway, feels more akin to being a piece of meat left out to rot in the sun; slowly the flies came, slowly the maggots chewed away, and slowly the weather wore me down until something radically different remains


Somewhere in the beginning middle of this underworld process, during a particularly dark time in our relationship, Gabe and I went to look at property in the Joshua Tree. More to escape our life than to seriously look at property, or so we thought.


If you haven't been to Joshua Tree before you must visit. It's on the land of Yuhaaviatam, A Serrano Tribe whose name translates to "People of the Pines. As their creator god lay dying in a pine forest near present-day Big Bear their grief turned into pine trees. The Yuhaaviatam hold the land and all that it provides as sacred above all else. Joshua Tree is imbued with this reverence and mysticism. The desert is spacious and peaceful and at night you can see so many stars, it's a dark sky preserve.


On that trip, there was a freak-cold snap and wind storm. We were driving down highway 62, a few hours before sunset, and Google maps misdirected us towards a road that we would later know was much more riverbed than road...


And we got stuck!


Gabe's low (brand new!) car sank deep into the soft sand and thus began the four-hour adventure of trying to dig it out by hand.


Joshua Tree, stormy skies, Nuria Reed
Looking west over the property on a stormy day.
There's a phenomenon that happens when you're in the archetypal journey of healing. Healing is a surrendering of ego and acceptance of the "is-ness" of the moment. This brings great clarity which normally is clouded by the ego's idea of right and wrong.

While the sun went down and the temperature dropped into the low 40s I chatted with the neighbors who kindly came out to help us dig. They told me about the coyotes that run through the wash and what life is like in the area. We watched the stars come out and listened to the sounds of the desert. I got a sense of the place and felt a clarity around the property and the area that transcended my egoic fears of right and wrong.


Joshua Tree, stormy skies, Nuria Reed
Looking east over the property.

Eventually, we did see the actual property in the daylight making sure to follow the roads the neighbors told us to use. (Apparently, people get stuck in the wash all the time.)


The land looked on the outside the way I was feeling on the inside; like someone hit a house with a wrecking ball and just walked away. There was debris everywhere. The city had condemned an old house on the property a few years ago and had it torn down. The land hadn't been cared for in many years and it showed, it also had a lot of promise. There are several beautiful Joshua Trees on it, a palm tree, and most of the utilities are already in place. I felt it needed someone to love it and restore it to its natural beauty - this archetypal healing process was something I understood!



We made an offer on the property that was accepted on our 5 year anniversary! What a gift!


And so here we are at the very beginning of a new journey of restoration and growth. The land needs a lot of work before we can put anything down, as you can see from the video, and we plan on doing most of it by hand, so expect many more adventures! Our dream is to build a compound out of shipping containers (check out Gabe's company here).

Joshua Tree, stormy skies, Nuria Reed
Floss looking west over the infamous riverbed.

As for my o