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Thursday, July 9, 2009

God speaks in Prickly Pears & Ragged Rock Flowers


Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
C. S. Lewis

Okay, so I'll try something profoundly unoriginal, here...

Some of my most noteworthy thoughts arrive in my head where neither pen nor paper can be found within a radius of 10 miles. I hiked Pinnacle Peak last week on a beautiful summer morning. I was enjoying the scenery and the serenity when I stumbled upon a couple of desert dwelling cactus wrens feasting on the fruit of a prickly pear. Laying on the trail, the bright orangy-red fruit-pear had burst open revealing its contents which, upon closer examination, resembled beluga caviar. The birds were taking turns pecking at, what I assumed to be, the breakfast of bird champions. I've lived in the Sonoran Desert now for nearly 15 years and I continue to be amazed by the stark beauty that enshrines this environment. The birds and the fruit? My reminder that God is abundantly provident, supplying the needs of man, beast and foul with his bounty.
The Pinnacle Peak Trail is a short, non-loop trail in North Scottsdale which spans 2 small mountains...one is, you guessed it...Pinnacle Peak; a distinctive peak depicted in most of the real estate east of Pima Road and North of the Loop 101. In total, average hike time to complete it is about 90 minutes if you're movin'along. The trail is wonderfully maintained and is peppered with educational signs of the local flora and fauna. I usually ignore the signs (story of my life?) and continue walking, blissfully unaware of the great education that could be had. The hike of last week was a little different; I did notice one sign in particular. I was paying attention after the birds and what drew it was a very hearty little plant growing out of a rocky crevice. I've seen bouganvilla doing this along highway concrete barriers too and have always been perplexed by the tenacity of the plant to survive in what would seem to be impossible conditions. Upon closer examination, this particular plant had a cool name: Ragged Rock Flower. I googled it and found that it grows on steep, north-facing mountain sides or within deep narrow canyons across southern Arizona, often growing straight out of crevices. It has showy, often fragrant, white flowers with five petals. It is one of the most beautiful shrubs of the Sonoran Desert.
Seems to me this is yet another lesson. I know some people who remind me of this plant. They seem to have graduated from the school of hard knocks (or at least take up seats on the board!). Yet they keep plugging away despite hardship, danger, toils and snares. I admire these people. They seem to be more detached from the fluffly things of earthly existence and thrive in an environment that is more interior. Like the plants, they must have strong "roots" that go down deep into the mineral content of the rock strata. They must be able to sit still for long periods of time and absorb things that might be hard to comprehend. They have learned that they can rely on the sturdy rock, to supply their needs and shield them from the buffets of the winds & storms and from animals that might try to pilfer their tender shoots and leaves as they struggle to survive in what might seem to be some impossible terrain. From the outside, it might appear that our Ragged Rock Flower doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of survival. However that's just the problem. We're on the outside, seeing the problem, identifying the difficulties. Perhaps we need to have an interior perspective. One that looks from the inside, out. From this vantage point, we might be able to witness a little of the micro-universe where God also reigns.

Psalm 18: 33-37
This God who girded me with might, kept my way unerring,

Who made my feet swift as a deer's, set me safe on the heights,
Who trained my hands for war, my arms to bend even a bow of bronze.
You have given me your protecting shield; your right hand has upheld me; you stooped to make me great.
You gave me room to stride; my feet never stumbled.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Karen! Your ability to translate our relationships with God in ways such as this continues to amaze me. Praise be to God for allowing my life's path to cross with yours!

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