There are strange and beautiful corners of this country that take one by surprise. One such was the Thousand Palms Oasis, to which my brother introduced Martine and me last Friday. Not far from the usual desolation of the Coachella Valley was a large concentration of California Fan Palms, the Washingtonia filifera. Most of the palms in the California desert are Arabian imports, such as the date palms of Indio; but the California Fan Palms are native to the state.
As we walked into the oasis, the temperature dropped by several degrees; and there was a whiff of sulfur in the air from springs that bubbled up from the ground.
The oasis was not very large, and there was even a subsidiary oasis about a quarter of a mile farther on. But while we were in the shadow of the palms, we were transported far from the barren rocks, dirt and succulents of the desert floor. The effect was magical.