Sunday, November 25, 2007
seeking peace in desert places
I went to the desert for peace. I found that the noise was in my head. I went to the desert to pray and then I didn’t know what to say to God. I went to the desert to be alone but somehow everyone came with me. I went to the desert to rest but carried a heavier load than ever before in my life.
Deserts are the living metaphor for life. The journey is long and tedious. The nights are cold. The days are hot. The briars and thorns argue with your intent. The barren landscape mirrors the wretched parts of the empty soul, the thirsty church, the wretched state of humankind.
If you go to the desert, go to encounter wonder and terror.
So the photo is my evidence that it happened. That is my shadow against the setting sun. I pitched my tent beside a range of rock hills to the east of the basin I crossed. The sun fell behind the mountains by 5 and everything was pitch black by 6. Sweat stung the scratches and gashes I received in an encounter with a thorn bush. I washed them clean and left the thorns for removal by the morning sun. I tried to read. But I was afraid. I tried to sleep to forget the fear but the fear prevailed. I tossed and turned. The quiet nothingness contrasted with the noise and worries I brought with in my head, till the helicopters started droning away in the distance and the cold chilled me to the bone. The stars hung into my face. Cassiopeia and Andromeda beckoned me to wonder but I was too cold to be good company. The coyote’s song brought the dawn to comfort and soothe. I frantically climbed the hill of rocks that shadowed my abode from the rising sun. I sat down to contemplate the lessons given by ants. Peace and fullness flooded me to the pit of my soul as I soaked in the morning sun.