It was like a scene from the movie, The Big Chill. Six best friends—all reeling from different heart-sick-holding patterns.

They’d known each other since forever and attended each other’s drunken weddings and even more drunken divorces and lover-breakups. Held each other through the pain of “how could she do this to me?” and that familiar “he’s not that into you” mantra now made famous in the book and movie. Each facing the same window of “nobody to love,” they made a pack not to hang around for yet another Valentine’s Day of screaming, f-ing, red roses being delivered to co-workers and neighbors for all the world to see that somebody loves them and nobody loves YOU. You, of the rose-less desks feeling like nothing but romance-refuse with a big “L” etched into your psyche definitely not standing for LOVE.

So, in a well-planned escape they fled to the desert—Joshua Tree Oasis, and Sorriso Da Terra. Two exquisite hideaways joined in a resort-like retreat deep in the heart of a sea of sand and serenity and an entire planet of peace with not a Valentine in sight.

Almost immediately upon arrival the friends began to unwind in this vacation designed for all phases of the heart. This was their chance to catch-up, tell their stories, drown their sorrows and laugh harder than they ever had in years. It was time to let Joshua Tree Oasis and Sorriso Da Terra do their magic and catch them by surprise—face them into brilliant sunrises and sunsets; bed them into womb-like comfort; awaken them to a symphony of silence punctuated by an orchestra of desert wildlife and the soothing sound of dunes shifting around cacti-filled landscapes. The friends rocked on to shake-your-booty music and conversation and endless meals and too many refilled glasses shared in the “OMG-THAT’S GOOD” outdoor Jacuzzi bubbling warmth into weary and love-pummeled Valentine veterans.

It wasn’t long before they each came to the same realization as they wrapped themselves around the roaring fireplace, curled in clumps of blankets and pillows around the floor. Easing into the comfort of each other as they watched the play of dazzling stars reflected in the windows; a glimpse of a sprinting coyote loping across the distant horizon. They each fled the brazen scream of a holiday meant to stir the rest of the world into a furious frenzy of guilt, forced affection and retail-romance, only to find the true meaning of love in the desert. Joshua Tree Oasis and Sorriso Da Terra had brought six friends together who thought they were escaping the ravages of Valentine’s Day—only to find healing of the heart and soul and body and spirit with great friends and a bounty of natural beauty. This was a place all about love every minute you breathed it in. No rose-filled vases could even begin to compete…

Cara Wilson-Granat