I drove out to Joshua Tree to confirm that it is indeed a magical place. This was confirmed by a security guard in the Walmart parking lot. I was cooking up some eggs, and the security vehicle pulled up alongside.
"Did you sleep alright last night?"
I didn't know if this was a trick question or not. I also couldn't see how it made a difference, so.
"Yes, thank you."
The security guard seemed genuinely pleased that I had slept well.
"Nobody will ever be bothered here."
This is not what I expected to hear. The fact that he was being friendly, and he waited until my side door was wide open and the sun was up -- that was enough. I expected to be told that there was a one night policy, or some other restriction on being a bum. But no. He just wanted to let me know that I was safe and welcome. We chatted for a few minutes.
"This is a magical place" he told me. "You will find serenity here. If you are looking for it."
I was looking for serenity. I always am. At my best times, I find it. But my emotions run the gamut. Often.
I went in to use the bathroom. On my way back to the van I got a big wave and a smile from my new friend. .... a kind security guard in the Walmart Parking lot in Yucca Valley California.