Am I willing to give up what I have in order to be what I am not yet? Am I able to follow the spirit of love into the desert? It is a frightening and sacred moment. There is no return. One's life is charged forever. It is the fire that gives us our shape. ~Mary RichardsAsk any Aussie; the middle of Australia is a desert. Several deserts. Most of us live along the *coastal fringe* with our beaches & our surf & our great white sharks ~ & life is good. Seriously. Anywhere along the coastal fringe has a pretty temperate climate ~ unless you are unlucky enough to live in Melbourne, or possibly Hobart. If you want snow you go to it; it does not come to you. We whinge about our cost of living but we're a western country & our standard of living is better than 3/4 of the world's & I'd hazard it is probably the best in the world from what I've seen travelling. We just don't know how lucky we really are.
We joke about our *dead centre*. We know the desert is encroaching at the rate of 4 miles a year. We watch the Leyland Brothers [remember them?] & the Bush Tucker Man but we don't go into the desert ourselves. There's nothing there but mallee scrub, red sand, scorching heat.
Early in our marriage the MOTH worked out west on the oil rigs & he got to know the desert as few people ever do ~ & he fell deeply & irrevocably in love with the dry places no~one goes. And he saw, just once, the desert after the floods & there was so much wildlife: birds & frogs, kangaroos & lizards & snakes. Swarms of them. Everywhere you looked.
I have been thinking about our deserts, about the frogs who burrow deep into the sand & hibernate until the rains come, about the birds that suddenly breed prolifically, about how all those animals survive the dry years because I have been in a dry place spiritually. I hate the desert places. I like to be green & well watered & the ease of lush pastures. Yep, that's me, lolling in the lush grass beside gentle steams & here is the thing. Those beautiful lush pastures are a dangerous place to be.
If you plant a tree in the desert it is going to do one of 2 things. It is either going to curl up it's toes & die or it is going to send it's tap root surging deep down into the sub~soil to the water table & the streams of fresh water hidden below the ground. When times are good & easy those same trees grow shallow roots because there is water close to the surface & they fall over in the smallest storm. The trees that learn to endure are deep rooted ~ but they never get that way without adversity. They mightn't grow so straight, or so tall, but they grow strong. Bits of them get brittle & break away but the trunk is solid. It is only the extraneous the tree discards, dropping unnecessary limbs, shedding foliage that drains it's limited resources. Only what is important is maintained.
And the other thing is desert things learn to endure. They grow patient, waiting for the rains ~ & when the rains finally come they aren't washed away in the floods but they bear bountiful fruit, 10, 20, 100 times. I understand. I just don't like it very much. *sigh*