Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Lizard Tree Library

As soon as it warmed up enough to emerge from my cocoon, I packed up camp, said goodbye to Dave(Who suggested I install an emergency parachute on my bike. Just in case.), and set off to explore. I followed signs to the range, the oasis club, wandered up and down rows of junkyard debris, battered old vans, and flashy new RVs. I was looking for the Lizard Tree Library, which is often mentioned by travel writers who pass through the slabs. A spaced out young hippie in a patchwork skirt told me there was a library down by the canal, which had closed. "It's still got all the books, though, and you can go in there. Just look for the sign that says 'Open 24/7'".

I made my way down in the general direction of the canal. Rvs, trucks, vans and garbage petered out until I felt alone in the desolate, scrubby hills. Good thing, since I had to take care of some business behind a bush. Of course, the moment I dropped trousers, along comes a man walking his dog... He pointed me in the right direction; back the way I came.

Eventually, I found it. A battered old construction of plastic and scrap wood. My assessment is that "closed" means "This place used to be maintained, but now it just sits here". Many of the books appeared to have swelled up with the last rain, cobwebs abounded, dust settled in thick layers. Oddly, the stack of books covering the now-dry fountain looked clean and new. Postcards, old posters, and faded knicknacks crowded the walls and shelves.

This place was probably falling apart the day it was built, but it's obvious that someone cared about it. Crayon printed signs indicate what-goes-where, mostly-dead gardens and and colorful rocks line the buildings, quotes are written on the walls, along with a pencil drawing of an owl in a mirror-frame. Even in disrepair it was full of personality - perhaps even more so, with the allure of an abandoned building added in. Hundreds of battered National Geographic issues filled a wall of shelves, and I spent a few hours sitting out in the sun reading, before heading out to find a camp for the night.

A special find for me

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