Editor’s note: Leon Emo, who died May 13, wrote a monthly feature, “Mo’s Meanderings,” which discussed places he had visited far and near. At his memorial service, a private Musings he had written for four friends with whom he often visited the Mojave Desert was read by Theresa Svanda, one of those friends, and she kindly gave us permission to publish it.
We drove, the six of us, this ol’ desert rat and his best friends, like we had so many times before, through Panamint Valley. With the crossing of the Slate Range pass north of Trona, the healing peace again flowed to this scribe. But even the wind, a desert song, humming a symphony across the mesquite and sage, nor even doctors, could heal the scars of two years before.
We stopped at Emigrant Gap. Before me (us) the valley stretched out forever and the cobalt sky became the ceiling of the grandest cathedral. My gal and the girls prepared a delicious lunch enjoyed at a solitary picnic table with the Cottonwood Mountains as a backdrop.
We had just crossed the mighty Panamint Mountains that hid the history of pioneers, prospectors and lost souls. A touch of Apache snow (A patch here, a patch there) rested like scattered cotton balls upon the crest of Telescope Peak near the old mining camp of Panamint City. I sighed, my meager exhale drifting into the desert air. Enough! This was my time with my cherished desert friends and flowers.
Finally, at our room in Longstreet, I stood outside. The sweet, sage-scented desert breeze kissed my lips. I watched my shadow scoot across the desert landscape and lose itself in the sunset as the glowing orange orb abandoned the day. Tonight, above desert trails and tales, the pale moon would swing through the arms of the Joshua tree and branches of tall mesquite. I remembered my solitary camping days when I would spread out my bag, and light a fire. The desert, my desert, still called to this wanderer. In the sunset’s glow the naked Funeral Mountains touched the darkening sky...