Coachella at first glance seems to be merely a taste of the desert. It is an atmospere that allows one to declare ‘yes’ they live out in the desert, while impressing any listener into thinking they are brave and adventurous for living out on these outskirts. The word ‘desert’ after all does have a sense of daring and adventure and peril and beauty.
As you enter from Los Angeles on Interstate 10 and approach Palm Springs, the first and largest city in the valley, you are greeted first by the silent giant mountains of San Jacinto on your right and on your left, by the rows of giant windmills staring blankly as you drive by them. No matter how fast you drive, they pass very slowly since they are way more enormous than they appear. That is the nature of many things in the desert. Everything is much larger than it appears. They seem to whisper to you before they roar.
And this speaks to the people as well. They appear mostly older yet the truth is that they are very young, for as they mature in years their spirits grow tender and more alive. And instead of seeming somehow on their way out, everybody seems to be on their way in, as if they’re in on some great secret they cannot share with the rest of us. They are a unique breed of children bursting with an energy that is pure and bound to last well into the days of their legacy.
The shops and restaurants and the general architecture are devoted to the idea of the southwest, with countless images of cowboys, and Mexican tiles adorning the streets and street corners and sideshops and sidewalks and fountains and villages.
Yet the greatest stretch of the Coachella Valley are its mountains, and the stars at night that are so clear amid the violet canvas of the sky. These are the characters most eternal and most enchanting. They are the high priests of the land who are paid their well-deserved tribute by these residents who are always grateful for the majestic company and protection and knowledge provided them in their later years.
Young people do not belong here. For it takes that elusive and unspoken knowledge, which in the end can only be acuired through years of living life, to stand beneath these stars in the quietest of nights, and to stand amongst the mountains and join them in their vigil in the great expanse of the desert. You are here with the mountains and you both represent truth and passion and commitment. You lie beneath the stars and you both represent beauty and joy. The desert is life, presented after many years in its final, and most raw form. Your remaining here to gaze upon it contradicts the desert’s fearsome nature, its primordial Mojave scream. And it’s the contradiction that makes you brave.
Part I To the Top