Situated at the northwest end of the Coachella Valley, at the eastern base of Mt San Jacinto, 111 miles east of Los Angeles and 136 miles northeast of San Diego, Palm Springs has been called the crown jewel of the Desert Resorts community, the playground to the rich and famous, and the GLBT retirement capital of the world.
It has been the home of the of the Cahuilla people for 350 – 500 years, who have used the various canyons in the area (Indian, Murray, Andreas, Palm and Tahquitz) for survival, spirituality and healing.
I discovered Palm Springs 1989. I traveled here with an disabled employer who was seeking to break up the monotony of a Minnesota winter. We stayed a week that year, then returned to following year for two weeks.
Something called to me that second year. I am not sure what, maybe it was the the energy I felt or my gaydar was just screaming off the charts…or both.
Palm Canyon Drive was packed with almost naked college aged & mid twenty somethings partying like crazy…it was Spring Break.
When I returned to MN, I waited a month, gave my two weeks noticed with the employer, packed up a U-Haul and moved to out here with $561.00 in my pocket.
Palm Springs holds alot of history for me. It was here where I launched my professional photography career, and achieved success with that, but more importantly, it is also the place where my addiction came to head and almost ended my life.
When I first arrived here in 1990, I was told: ” This place is a vortex, it will either lift you up, or slam you down, HARD! There is no middle ground”
I, of course, didn’t heed these words and the prophecy came true for me to each extreme.
I fled Palm Springs in Fall of 1997 to seek rehab for my drug addiction and returned to Minnesota.
I first time I returned in the late summer of 1998, I was smoking weed before my ride had exited the airport. And of course I fell into old ways fast. When I left two weeks later, as the airplane lifted off the tarmac, I could feel the energy just draining away from me as if a part of me was being left on the ground and I was being pulled out away from it. I feel into a deep sleep. That was the last time I used drugs in Palm Springs. ( although it still took another six years for me to become completely clean and sober).
Th last four years I have returned here at least once a year, but it is usually twice a year.
On one early occasion, I flew into town geared up for camping and had all my gear in a couple of backpacks, one wrapped around the other. The plane landed just as night was falling. I began to walk from the airport West towards Palm Canyon Drive to catch a bus that would take me to the campground I was staying at the first couple of nights. Twilight silhouetted Mt. San Jacinto.
I walked past the courthouse where some of my hearings took place, the office that once housed my probation officer, the jail I had been in numerous time, old apartments where I lived, where I was violently assaulted…all this negative past rising up into my face from memory; and then with a clarity I have never felt before in my life, it was all canceled out by an energy that welled up in me that was so powerful: I was clean and sober! And it was gonna stay that way.
From that moment on, the energy I feel when I am here is almost indescribable. I feel a sense of purpose, I feel connected to Source, to the world, to the Universe….to All. I am confidant, secure. I have clarity, I am at peace, there isn’t an angst.
Its as if for every self-destructive moment I created in the negative vortex; when I am here, now, on the opposite side of that vortex, the energy is just amplified to the positive by 100.
There is definitely a “magic,” an energy in the air that I don’t feel anywhere else. It’s one of the reason I keep returning and the reason why, in time I will call this place home again.