Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thursday thoughts: the desert

Now that I am a lady of leisure, it occurs to me that I may be able to return to a bit more blogging.  I have been storing up thoughts about a variety of subjects, and think I may articulate them here on Thursdays.  These will be random, delight-or-interest-driven ideas. Today, I'd like you to consider the desert with me.

When this Midwest girl moved to the high plains desert of Northern New Mexico, it was both a culture and a landscape shock.  We get a little more than 18 inches of precipitation a year here, and less in much of the surrounding area.  We often have a relative humidity of less than 10%, and can have a 24-hr temperature change of 30 or more degrees on a fairly regular basis.  The ground is scraggly and has been compared by two visitors-who-shall-not-be-named as "the result of the Fall", and the "other side of the moon." And the people who last here are a sort of tough, independent kind of folk.  Let's just say it took some getting used to.

But I have come to realize that living in a desert produces many good things.  Let me list a few:
  • Almost nothing ever molds.
  • Glasses of iced beverages rarely sweat in the summer- the water evaporates.
  • You sweat, but you don't know it, because it evaporates. Instead of air-conditioning, we have evaporative coolers: we pump moist air through our houses, and it cools them as it evaporates.  This method can keep my house at 72 degrees when it is almost 90 outside. Amazing!
  • Because it is barren, you notice things you would fail to notice in some lush, green space.  For instance, the changing color of the sun throughout the year in this dry, high altitude (I live at over 6300 feet.) is simply spectacular.  You notice the color in rocks, the differences in the green of different types of trees, or subtle changes in clouds.
  • Without water, you come to appreciate it-- both its worth and its power.
  • The dry atmosphere, high altitude, and clear weather make for the best and most dazzling skies anywhere.  The scope is big, the clouds are close, and the stars are limitless.
  • The barrenness of the desert means that when things in the desert bloom, they do so spectacularly.
  • God often uses the desert-- physically or metaphorically-- to produce mighty good things in us.  Christ, and many others in Scripture, were tempted or tried in a desert.  Suffering produces a kind of "desert effect" that yeilds much fruit in our lives.  Last Sunday we heard an excellent sermon on the gift of trials in our lives that was really convicting.  You can listen to it here.
So, I have grown to love and appreciate the desert-- a physical thing I saw little beauty and no benefit in when I moved here almost 30 years ago.  And spiritually, the desert of this world produces much fruit for those who have eyes to see it.  May we both keep our eyes peeled for the blooms in the desert, Gentle Reader.  

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