Experiencing a lunar eclipse at the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon was Miriam's first experience with desert. She shares a memory of standing in the open space, and having the realization that she was living in outer space. Not viewing it as something 'out there', but as something she was a part of.
Art school brought an interest in film and the next thirty years were spent as a freelance art director for television commercials. The job took her from Portland to New York City to Los Angeles. And though she'd made friends and built community in Portland and NYC, Miriam found Los Angeles a more difficult place to connect to her community. She loved working with the cream of the crop production teams, but needed to find a place to fit in and unwind from the '24/7 lock and load high' of television production. At that time Miriam and a partner decided to go in on a house together in Joshua Tree - the partner backed out - Miriam bought her place and never looked back. She continued to work in LA, making the drive out to JT immediately after she was 'wrapped' on Fridays - then hauling back in at three or four a.m. on Monday mornings.
Four years ago, Miriam left LA to reside permanently in Joshua Tree. The week after closing on her home, as she traveled up the Morongo Grade, Miriam saw the chaos and calming community response that was brought on from the Sawtooth Fire. In this episode, she describes the experience as both beautiful and frightening, which made her realize this was going to be a completely different experience than she'd ever lived before.
To get to know people and the area, Miriam went on the Highway 62 Open Studio Art Tours, an annual event in the Morongo Basin. She recommends it as a great way not only to meet people, but to see the geography and topography of the area.
Since coming to the desert, Miriam has become a committed supporter of conservation organizations, as well as an involved activist within her desert community, informing herself about the detrimental effects of solar farms and panels as well as the flu from domesticated goats and sheep that is having a devastating effect on the local populations of big horn sheep.
In addition to her rental properties, Miriam recently purchased and renovated a commercial property in downtown Joshua Tree, which will hold a bakery, a sundries store with stationery, gifts and home decor and an as yet to be announced secondary business from an already successful local entrepreneur. Miriam is proud to have all local residents filling the storefronts and talks about the solutions she found to some of the challenges in working with the County.
Come and stay with Miram
At the end of the episode, I mentioned a local Experimental Music production was looking for women who are interested in participating in these performances. If you or a female you know is interested, please refer them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phogmasheen in action