Pumping water out of the ground at 26 gallons a minute, Palm Springs, California, is an oasis in the American desert. And the desert surrounds this oasis like an ocean surrounds a life raft. I hiked out into the desert, away from civilization. Or so I thought. Miles from the highways and golf courses, far from the spas and shops, humans have slung detritus everywhere. In the middle of the desert I found discarded tools of our culture. Most puzzling were a couple of shovels in near mint condition, “only used once by victims who were forced to dig their own graves.” Or so I suspect. I did not touch the perfectly good shovels, to the surprise of my bride, relieved that she would not be sharing space in our car with a pair of murder weapons.
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