From the Travel Notebook:
I’m back in Palm Desert again. I love deserts largely because they never cease to amaze me. Yesterday, for example, it snowed … just northwest of Palm Springs. It hasn’t snowed here for ten years. The past couple of days I’ve been spending my time in the outdoor pools because even in the middle of winter it’s warm most of the time … mid-sixties to low seventies this time of year. I actually like the desert best when it’s being “desert-y,” although hiking Death Valley in the summertime (like Tim Cahill did some years back) might be a bit of a stretch. I can warm up just thinking about past visits, like this old date with the desert:
The heat is blistering here in the Colorado Desert. I’m told temperatures in late spring and summer can climb to 124 degrees during midday. The sun is pounding down on me, frying in freckles in spite of my SPF 48 block. It is midday, and all I can think about is a date. A bag of dates actually, or maybe an ice-cold date shake. And suddenly, there they are – quivering in an oasis of air conditioning – veritable mountains of Medjools (Royal Mediterranean Jewels), Deglet Noors, soft Blondes and sweet Brunettes. No, I am not hallucinating. On this sun-kissed strip of southern California desert I’ve found a kind of Eden, a world of year-round sunshine, succulent fruit and bubbling hot springs and spas; a place of simple pleasures, a center of plenty and peace.
Excerpted from an article by Linda Watanabe McFerrin first published in the San Francisco Chronicle March 28, 2004