View Purchase OptionsOil painting on canvas by Kathy Shute, Artist
Description by Heather Rice, Sustainability Educator
Before night sweeps across Joshua Tree like a cool, protective blanket, the red sun sinks slowly below the summer horizon. Its lingering rays give an ethereal glow to an already surreal desert landscape. A spectrum of color – from purple to dusty red – illuminates the massive boulders, and Joshua trees cast spindly silhouettes against the lustrous sky.
Nightlife in Joshua Tree immerses us in a singular world—one seemingly illustrated by the playful Dr. Seuss. Nothing looks ordinary in this place where the Mojave and Colorado deserts collide because extremes rule here. Inky darkness will engulf the brilliant daylight; intense heat will give way to the cool night and precious little rain will relieve the drought.
In this dusky hour, desert animals emerge to take advantage of night’s reprieve. Coyotes lope across the horizon on their evening hunt, their primeval yelps piercing the unnerving silence that is otherwise punctuated only by a crackling campfire and small, scavenging feet out in the shadows. Rabbits come out of crevices to forage, their ears attuning them to such dangers as the coyote’s call or a circling hawk.
While the nightlife in Joshua Tree wakes up, campers settle in – and rock climbers descend from their monolithic playgrounds and head home toward the glow of urban nightlife. The saucy after-hours scenes of nearby desert cities bear little resemblance to the scene depicted here. This is perhaps why Joshua Tree National Park is drawing more and more visitors every year. It is an escape, a playground, and a release from the intensity of modern society.
Through the work of pioneering minds, we have officially recognized such social and intrinsic benefits of unique desert ecosystems like this, and Joshua Tree National Park exists today to protect this wild, untamed space.
Establishment of protection is only the first step, however. Fragile yet important features in the desert can face threats from increased human activity. For example, the cryptobiotic crust found here – literally a living top layer of soil and microorganisms that hold down the sand and soil – takes many years to establish itself. One footprint alone in the fragile crust can take decades or more to fully regenerate. The park works to educate visitors about this fragile balance, and how we can enjoy the land responsibly.
In turn, the land itself offers up many opportunities for us to learn about ourselves. The extreme conditions it naturally offers can push our personal boundaries. Whether scaling the face of a huge rock wall, backpacking for miles with no natural water sources, sleeping on a cold hard ground, or cooking over a small campfire with limited resources.
Do you seek such challenges or do you prefer the comfort of home? Do you settle in at nightfall or perk up with the evening air? Are you covered in spines like the Joshua Tree or in soft fur like the jackrabbit? A weekend out in Joshua Tree may at first seem like a trip to Mars, but the escape can help us get us back in touch with ourselves, with each other, and with our natural world.
Nightlife In Joshua Tree is available on mugs, note cards, and other personal gifts in my Gift Shop.
My vendor for quality print reproductions is Fine Art America – a well-respected art reproduction company. They utilize a process called Giclee, which captures the details of my original paintings.
Nightlife In Joshua Tree reproductions can purchased on canvas, museum quality prints, posters, and more. Artwork can be purchased in any quantity and includes options for custom matting and framing.