Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii


The sky grew rich with deep orange hues streaking across a pale-blue sky as I made my way over the mountain pass into Joshua Tree National Park. The pockmarks of man’s activity gave way to the undisturbed desert landscape, and mountain-sized inselberg rock formations cast long shadows in the early dawn, making the park feel prehistoric and abandoned.

I made my way to a secluded outcropping and gazed out over the desert floor, stretching for miles to a mountain-capped horizon. The rock ledge felt cold from the night before. I sat back and let the sun warm my face and soothe my frantic mind and spirit.

As the sun climbed the sky and the chill in my bones dissolved, life unraveled on the desert floor below. These birds and animals and plants survive out here, I thought, they need so little. Somehow there’s enough. The sensation washed over me, but there was something else … an understanding I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It was sitting right there on the tip of my mind, but I couldn’t get to it.