Previously in this blog, I have written about small t truths (i.e. one’s personal beliefs) that complement the big T truths (i.e. one’s religious or spiritual beliefs) in our lives. Click here for that blog. Today I have another small t gem for your consideration.
Do what you want to do even though it might disappoint another. And by doing so, you will have a better relationship with that person.
Either you are thinking: (1) Sounds a little me, me, me, Danny Boy or (2) well, duh, of course that is true. Hold on, let me explain and give you an example.
If you do something you don’t want to do, resentment can rear its ugly head quite easily. Would you want someone to do something for you that they didn’t want to do? I wouldn’t.
If you do what you want, the other person has a clearer idea what you like and dislike. You become more real to them, and they know when you say something you mean it; and you aren’t just being disingenuously polite.
So, the example. In the fall, Hannah and I had arranged in early March to meet with our longtime (40+ years) friend Nancy, whose husband Wayne had died recently, in Zion National Park, four hours south of her home in Utah. (Click here for my eulogy blog for Wayne.)
In the days prior to our planned meeting during the first week of March, the weather forecast for our overnight and hike together in Zion turned nasty – a forecast of snow, morning temps in the teens, and daily highs in the mid-40s were not conducive to hiking or even being outside.
Three days before we were to meet, we offered Nancy the option of postponing our rendezvous in Zion. Though I bet she wanted to talk with us, two people who knew and loved her husband Wayne dearly, she said the drive through the mountain passes in southern Utah concerned her. Even though we might be disappointed, she said she’d like to postpone.
Knowing she was doing what she wanted to (re: my small t truth), Hannah and I were pleased for her and for ourselves.
Once Nancy decided, Hannah and I then chose not to go to Zion either, which opened us to spending an extra day in the sunshine at Joshua Tree National Park and two days of warm in Lake Havasu City, Arizona on the Colorado River.
Nancy opened the door for us to find the good in the change of plans.
After a February in Carpinteria, California (near Santa Barbara), we head east to Joshua Tree National Park, thanks to the recommendation of our California friend Justin Kyker (For those of you keeping score at home, that is Big Steve and Amelia’s kid). Aided by our pickleball friend Mark’s advice to delay our morning departure so as to avoid the LA metro snarl, we leave at 9A and cruise along the LA freeways and beyond for the 230-mile drive to the Mojave Desert, albeit among more cars than there are in the entire state of Maine.
Heading to Joshua Tree National Park, which is quite literally in the middle of Nowhere, even though it is just two and a half hours and 150 miles from Los Angeles, we exit off I-10 onto route 62. As we travel through the towns of Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree, and Twentynine Palms, we see terrain that is parched and barren, something like the land the federal government traded (read: swindled) Native Americans with in the 19th century treaties.
Arriving early afternoon at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center, we learn of the four-mile out and back trail to the Lost Horse Mine among the Joshua trees. Passing through the West Entrance to the national park, we weave down Park Boulevard among roadside boulders on the first of March on a windy day of sun in the upper 50s.
By the way, the Joshua trees of the Mojave Desert are not really trees but a species of yuccas. Like other desert plants, their waxy leaves expose little surface area, cleverly conserving moisture. Growing to over 40’ at one inch per year, Joshua trees are home to orioles, hawks, and woodpeckers.
At 4384’ above sea level, the trailhead is appropriately found off the dirt Lost Horse Mine Road, which is barely wide enough for two cars. At the trailhead parking for ten cars, we see others, making parking spaces where there are none, in this case on the access road to the trailhead.
Fortunately, the moderate-rated trail is straight forward. At nearly 2P on a day the sun sets before 6P, we opt for the four-mile up and back trail to the one-time Lost Horse Mine. We leave the 6.2-mile loop trail for the younger set.
Rocky and sadly lacking in Joshua trees due to the 1999 burn in the area, the trail rises steadily but never in a heart pounding way with only a 400’ elevation gain. As one of the two most popular trails in Joshua Tree National Park, it is happy with hikers; which thankfully means we are unlikely to get lost.
In the distance, we see the Lost Horse Mine structure, which produced 10,000 ounces of gold in the early 1900s. A chain link fence surrounds the mine to protect visitors from the dangerous, open mine shaft. Click here for more information about the history of gold mining at Joshua Tree.
As an easy hour there, and fifty minutes in return, the hike is enjoyable walk in the desert; after a month of pickleball in Ventura and Santa Barbara, for this day, we return to our hiking roots.
And our desert hiking adventure is all thanks to Nancy being real with us.
Eight days after this hike, we were home in Maine.
Nine days after this hike, all hell broke loose