On a recent fun trip to Palm Springs in California for their film festival I couldn’t help but be disconcerted by all the contradictions around me. I get a kick out of the kitschy, excessive side of these desert communities and the Palm Springs film festival is world class.
California is in the grip of a seemingly endless drought though and the rivers and aquifers that are usually replenished by mountain snows haven’t flowed for a number of years…the occasional violent storms just wash away soil and can’t penetrate the solid, dried out earth. And wildfires roar through more frequently than ever.
Yet here in these desert communities with the highest concentration of rich people and golf courses in the United States, the gated communities are as green as a rain forest.
Looking out from the San Jacinto mountains you can see what was once a small oasis in the Colorado desert, stretching green for miles around as the ever depleting Colorado River is piped in to keep the lawns watered. What is wrong with this picture?
For some relief from the glitz of the Coachella valley towns we hiked in the Joshua Tree National Park in the nearby Navajo Desert.
This is a 500,000 square acres of desert beauty that has remained relatively unchanged for many thousands of years. Here too you can see the effect of the drought as mountain streams have dried up and no longer run. It’s the perfect place to contemplate the contradictions all around us.
So as the moon shines down over a Palm Springs golf course on a winter dawn we’re still left to wonder…what film am I seeing at 1.30?