(the line of strength that pulls me through the fear)
15x30 resin coated on stretched canvas.
When we got to Cima Dome to wild camp we took this hike through tens of thousands of Joshua Trees. They are my husband's favorite tree. To me, they have always been like a reverse tree, with their roots up in the air and the real growth being under the Earth. On that hike, we walked a line of where the forest was lush, alive, thriving. One look to the right and the whole forest had been burned for three miles. Nothing but pitch black outlines of burned joshua trees in the fading sun and twilight. Sad I guess is one way to look at it. To me it felt like taking a walk through my choices of consciousness. I know that in this life I have walked both lines. The line of strength. The line of fear. The feeling of that duality within nature still resonates with me.
After that we went to Joshua Tree, camped a few days and went to Keys View to see the San Jacinto Mountains at sunset. Since meeting my Husband I have grown to love Peter Gabriel, specifically his song San Jacinto. “I’m not hiking but let's at least drive up to see it.” I said that day in Joshua Tree. Always a joke as the first day in life we met he thought we were going hiking. I showed up in a mustang with an iced latte, wearing seafoam green heeled cowboy boots.
This day I shield my eyes, looking up at the giant viewpoint. We never really decided to but we started to climb the giant hills. Thirty minutes later, at the top of the first one, we can see the next, largest peak in the distance. “I’m happy with here if you want to go back.” He says. To get to the peak meant going all the way back down, only to climb back up.
“I didn’t come this far not to get to the top,” I say to him with a smile. My eyes catch his. They are always a brighter blue in nature. He doesn’t have to say it. My life saying is “I didn’t come this far to come this far” and I know that drive is one of the reasons he married me.
When we got to the very highest point at Keys View the sun was just setting. We sat in silence for a long time. It’s something we do. “How cheesy would it be to listen to San Jacinto right now?” I ask, always the first to break the silence. I’ve loved this song since the first time I heard it, especially the instrumentals. They sound like glass wind chimes shattering in harmony. We sat on the top of that mountain together, with that song, that view, that sunset. The crescendo of the whole song is when he says “I hold the line.”
We all hold the line and that line is the choice. Lush and thriving or a burnt-out cinder, reactive only to the past. Each is under the same sun. Both are necessary at different points, for me at least. I could never appreciate one without the other. This portrait is exactly what I was seeing down to the same lines as San Jacinto. It is the line we all hold. The radiance of that connection is a part of us all.