The Mojave desert is a mess. I love it, not in an ironic-slumming decay-hugger way, just love it. Chaparral crackles when there’s no other sound. Weird stuff grows out of nowhere and sits there daring you to find context. Ancient Mexican cowboys sell fruit to displaced urban black teenagers. The light is fierce and perfect and constant. Things break down and people just board them up and move on with their lives. All my life I’ve seen the desert as more functional, better adjusted, more of an organic whole than the city and the suburbs.
I want to say “don’t change,” Mojave, but I know you will, and I know you’ll always surprise me.
This is the least despairing of my latest suburban despair photo expedition. This time I was in Stanton, which is a small, boring, violent chunk of North Orange County. Stanton evokes for me, because it looks the way Costa Mesa did when I was a child in the 1970s: strip malls, asphalt, and piles of improbable small businesses.