COLUMN: The desert is beautiful right now

I’m sitting at my laptop still shaking off some of the rain that’s been falling lately. This year we’ve had quite a lot of rain, and I suspect there’s still more to come. Who knows, maybe even later today?

But there’s a wonderful benefit to all this rain, and that’s a very green desert. It’s amazing to look at our normally brown hills and see a verdant green spreading across them, interrupted only by the craggy outcroppings of stone that usually mark the upper part of the hills. All that green broken only by a generous sprinkling of yellow and purple flowers that dot the landscape. It’s absolutely beautiful.

And as all of us who’ve lived here a while know, it’s also very temporary. This sea of green will become brown and brittle soon enough. For summer is coming, and with it a blanket of heat that will suck the moisture from everything it touches. The brown will return and bring with it a heightened danger of brush fires due to all those desiccated weeds out there.

Because of our harsh climate, there’s nothing quite as beautiful or as transitory as a green spring in the desert. It really is here today and gone tomorrow. I hope you’ll pardon me for making an all too obvious metaphor of all this and draw an even more predictable moral from it. I try to avoid being too predictable in this column, but sometimes we need to be reminded of the obvious truths we know but ignore anyway.

Life itself, in all it’s phases, is just like our green spring here on the Colorado River. It’s here today in all it’s glory, but will be gone tomorrow. I’ve been reminded of this lately by the death of several people I know. I’ve also seen this reality in the lives of others who are alive but dealing with the ever encroaching limitations that aging often puts upon us.

We all know we’re getting older every day. We joke about it, complain about it and then spend the rest of our time trying not to think about it. But we know. A wise man named Solomon once said, “The living know they must die.” Boy was he ever right!

So we ought to be celebrating and commemorating the great things in our lives as they happen and while we still have them. Everyone tells us to do this and pretty much everyone agrees it’s a good idea. But do we do it? I know I don’t, and I don’t see most people I know doing it either.

After all, I’m busy. All of us are busy. Heck, some of the busiest people I know are retired people who don’t work anymore. What are they doing, you ask? Going to this doctor, then that one and then off to a specialist to have some tests done. Staying healthy can take up your whole day sometimes.

What was that about the golden years?

We ought to be commemorating the wonders of our youth. The power and energy and resilience that most young people have is amazing and a real gift. But we’re too busy trying to grow up and get ahead so we don’t.

We should enjoy the increased stability that middle age often brings us and be happy that we’re still young enough to do almost anything. But we’re too busy working, dealing with kids and trying to get ready to retire so we don’t.

And so it goes. We’re so busy living for tomorrow that we fail to see and appreciate today until it’s too late. I remember when I lived in Colorado I had a bunch of places up in the Rockies that I wanted to see. But I was busy and kept putting off going till next week or next month. After all the Rockies weren’t going anywhere, right? Right. But I was. And when I moved back to Arizona, I did so having missed a golden opportunity to explore those amazing mountains.

Here today, gone tomorrow.

So do yourself a favor and take a walk out into our green wonderland before it becomes a brown furnace and appreciate it. Give thanks for it. Enjoy it.

Work and chores can wait.

Life won’t.

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Louie Marsh is pastor of Christ’s Church on the River on the Parker Strip. Visit his website HERE.

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