It's spring break, and we are in the desert for a few days. Why? People who live at 7,000 feet don't ask. Because last week my yard got another 7 inches of snow; 3 more are due tonight.
So, we ran away. To the desert.
The desert was my great escape when I was living in Los Angeles. It was the only wildness you could get to in a couple hours. I spent a lot of time with God here. So did many of the early Christians.
I love the beauty of the desert. Austere. Ascetic. Clean lines and simple, spare arrangements. Silence so deep your ears ring. Vastness, and in the next turn, intimate scenes. A Zen garden kind of beauty.
Anyhow, I was walking this morning and found a barrel cactus with a beautiful ring of new yellow flowers around it's top, like a crown. Cactus don't bloom often; they certainly don't bloom for months and months like roses do.
I love cactus. I especially love cactus in bloom. They arrest me. I'm not sure altogether why. But there is something about beauty in the midst of such harsh conditions that grabs my soul's attention. To see a circlet of flowers where there is normally a crown of thorns speaks poetic and symbolic volumes.
As I walked away from my lingering look, I was wondering why the fascination with cactus flowers.
The phrase came to me, "Even Here."
Meaning, even here, in these conditions, where things like rattlesnakes and scorpions thrive, even here beauty asserts itself.
It's sort of like nature saying, "It can be done."
When life is harsh, beauty can still prevail. We need to know that. So God gives us, among many reminders, cactus flowers.