Swaying desert palms and drifting sand nourish the soul | Home Again

By Joanne Peterson | Apr 21, 2016

My friend Barb owns a rental condominium in Palm Desert, Calif. Toward the end of April, renters are less likely to brave increasing heat, so the condo sometimes sits empty then.

This spring I accepted my friend’s generous offer of a solitary getaway to sun country before she closed the condo for the summer. It didn’t take long for me to accept the offer.

I spent winters in Arizona for several years, so I am familiar with desert country. I’ve lived with bright bougainvillea spilling over patio walls, fearless hummingbirds hovering nearby, palm trees serving as art forms against clear skies, and golf carts lined up in clubhouse parking lots – golf in the morning and happy hour later the same day.

After 10 years or so since those winters in Arizona, it was a treat to settle in for a while in southern California, where the climate and the land resemble the Phoenix area.

The dozen or so palm trees visible from my patio in Palm Desert were bending in the wind the Saturday morning I arrived. In fact, my shuttle driver’s cap blew off and tumbled away twice before he put my carry-on luggage in the trunk. He was not amused.

Later, I talked with a neighbor who said there had been a dust storm that started Friday, and was expected to continue through the weekend. All afternoon the palm trees swayed wildly, fronds blowing haphazardly, sand drifting from the golf course, sifting onto condo patios.

The next morning, with the weathervane palm trees signaling a quiet day, I swept the tile surface back to order, cleaned the glass table tops and wiped down the lounges before I brought their cushions outside. Then, I settled in to enjoy my short-term home. Peace.

That first morning in Palm Desert, I sat on the spacious private patio, watching golfers swish past in their electric carts, while I ate a bagel with cream cheese, sipped orange juice and then coffee, marveling at the pleasures of this getaway from routine.

I planned to pretend away any stresses I had brought with me from Edmonds. Anything troubling was not welcome on this trip.

Thanks to the generosity of a good friend, and the wonders of a short flight from Seattle to a beautiful place in Palm Desert, Calif., I could read and write every day, walk to the pool whenever I pleased, drive the rental car to the grocery store and back again – to be greeted by the attendant at the gate as if she knew me.

The thing is, aside from relaxation and a different routine, settling into a new environment for a while fed my soul. Perhaps I’ve come away from Palm Desert with fresh perspectives. Travel does that. As I’ve realized through the past 10 years, though, I’m glad I came home again to Edmonds.



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