Desert Oracle: Love for Arid Expanses

A quarterly digest celebrates the Mojave, Joshua Tree, and beyond.

IF YOU'RE A CITY PERSON... with an abiding affection for distant mountains and ocotillo blooms and century-old railroad tracks and coffee-hued boulders and mining towns from decades ago, you can find yourself in a bit of a state of longing, from time to time. It can challenge a metro dweller to be 100% desert-devoted but to know, because of life, work, and day-to-day duties, a desert weekend is not nigh. Finding some trees to commune with, in the city, isn't so hard, if you're a forest fan, and ocean fans can typically go for a spirit-bolstering swim somewhere nearby. But city denizens who are obsessed with arid expanses can't easily replicate the singular experience of standing alongside the Salton Sea, or at the Trona Pinnacles, or among the chollas of Joshua Tree National Park. There is, however, a way to revel in arid areas and all of their esoteric, sunset-tastic, history-amazing charms without ever leaving your couch. Well, strike that, you will need to go to your mailbox to enjoy the Desert Oracle, a desert-themed quarterly that made its debut in early 2015. The smaller-sized publication with the bright yellow cover is all about California's emptier (but in no way empty) expanses, with field trips into Nevada and Arizona's beautiful rocky- and arroyo-pretty spots. 

SO WHEN WE SAY "ALL ABOUT"... what do we mean? The seasonal quarterly is billed as "The Voice of the Desert," and that distinctive voice covers all manner of desert-oriented topics, from "Living with Scorpions" to ghost towns to the Death Valley-based "Star Wars" locations to the "Mysteries of the Mojave Phone Booth." Editor Ken Layne is the visionary behind the publication, a man who spent lots of time writing online -- his work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Awl, The New York Times, and several other majors -- but who could never deny his devotion to the Golden State's enormous and ethereal regions. You might be a Anza-Borrego fan, or over the moon about Twentynine Palms, or think that Desert Hot Springs is le ultimate. But you share something in common with all fans of these warm-of-clime, outside-of-time places: You get that desert-y draw, the lure that says to come back and be among the horned toads and vast skies. This lure is alive in every page of the homey, fun-flavored Desert Oracle, a juicy old-style read that covers a host of interesting topics that are presented in a lively way. It's almost like reading a newsy newsletter from your hometown, if, in your heart, your hometown is Joshua Tree, or Borrego Springs, or Gila Bend, or Rhyolite.

HOW TO FIND THE DESERT... in the city where you live? Subscribe to the quirky quarterly, the one with the cover that's the same color as sunshine streaming over a high desert plateau.

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