17. Beautiful desert

She told me she watched a special on the desert,
Right as Lent started, a group-led activity
About barrenness and discomfort.

But, she said, she was not struck with dismay or deficit,
Rather,
She was mesmorized by the beauty of the landscape,
The delicacy of the ecosystem,
The intricacy of the creation.

It changes the perspective on Lent.
For God made the desert, too,
Put as much care as the rain-forests and the mountains,
Delighted in its lizards and colored stones,
Thought of us when contrasting the rusty sand against the teal sky.

The spiritual life will always have seasons
–Consolation and desolation–
One is not “good,” and one is not “bad,”
Just like the Grand Canyon vs. a fern-laden forest
Could not be separated into “good”/ “bad”
Instead they both: /are/
Realities where God can be found in different forms of beauty.

I went to the desert once, the real one,
In Arizona, with my family.
I grew up surrounded by lakes and forests,
And, frankly, I did not expect to enjoy the desert.

But!! Upon arriving: I was breathless.
Cacti for miles!
Layers of colored sand!
Turquoise brightly punctuating the terra cotta landscape.
Enthralling beauty!

I’ve never returned.
But, I painted my basement in desert-colors,
A beauty I never want to forget.

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