An elemental being brings her creative force to Palm Springs and the forest above



Some people are merely creative, having just occasional starbursts with periods of dispersion, but a few brim with the creative force of a pulsar emitting electromagnetic waves. 

Amy Selwa is the latter. Whether choosing her day’s outfit or making a fruit salad of twenty ingredients, she mixes and matches elements, getting the very best results. 

Amy made her first visit to Palm Springs, and of course we went to Sinatra’s. Twin Palms, at 1145. Not o’clock, that’s the street number on East Via Colusa. Unless you’re looking for the back door on Alejo, which is at 1148.

As Sinatra hadn’t returned, we just grabbed a photo.

Later, we packed into a huge but lightly populated cabin suspended from a 40-millimeter compacted hauling cable for a ride to the Top of the Tram. 

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway ascends to one of E. Stewart Williams’s typically masterful works, the Mountain Station, perched on an 8,500-foot ridge of the San Jacinto Mountains. Higher still, you may find Sinatra.

On the steeps of this heap of granite–considered a sky island because so many things living up here could never survive in the inferno below–trailside vista points at the edge of the interior bowl overlook Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley.

Every balanced rock, hollowed log, or dead pine gave Amy an idea. Not just a pose: she crafted the whole composition beforehand. All that was needed of me was a bit of repositioning and fine-tuning.

Then she took over as photographer.

A Dutch family had started their American vacation at Disneyland before coming to Palm Springs on the way to Zion and Bryce. Vader Dutch is a highway engineer; Moeder Dutch, a biomedical researcher. Amy confiscated a smartphone and grouped them for a picture.

Dissatisfied with the static pose, she brought some vigor to the scene. Wavy, wavy, pants of gravy.

Then an unwitting couple, Mr. and Mrs. Pink, strayed up. They were making an excursion in celebration of their twenty-sixth. Anniversary–not child.

“You, Mr. Pink, back by that big root there!” Amy ordered.

“Now, Mrs. Pink, up against the cornflakes. I mean, it’s the texture of the bark. Yes, a Jeffrey pine really does smell like butterscotch pudding, but I need you to stop sniffing it and look here.”


What to do but stand back and marvel, experiencing the opportunity seldom, well, never before presented, to accompany a sylph, once a spirit of air, frolicking among the towering pyramidally crowned white firs and the singular vanilla redolence of those pines, charming everybody?

Yes, a change of metaphor from the neutron stuff.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to digest the facts, as taken from the fifth edition of Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia, that NP 0532 in the Crab Nebula appeared, as of the mid-1970s, to radiate more than 100,000 times the energy of our sun, to spin around at 30 times per second, and to convert the very zip of its own rotation into radiation and fast particles.

(Oh, fast particles! Oh, the rule of neutrinos!)

But every year NP 0532 appeared to lose about 13.5 microseconds between pulses. 

It’s falling off Amy’s pace.

Hold everything: Sinatra’s on Line One.









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