It’s like a black-and-white sort of canvas that has all the places in one place.
I can draw misery and abundance from one broad space, creating a word-image of darkness or of fulfillment in just a blink of perspective.
I love that I can turn from the dunes to the springs, the canyons to grottoes with nothing more than a short jump of view. It’s just like literally walking the desert to cross a ridge from the impossibility of survival in wilderness to the luxury of pausing forever in a hidden paradise. God has not abandoned the sun-battered emptiness of the sands and spines to this world and its curse.
This, the desert, presents stark emptiness, invisible heartache and hopelessness alongside redemption, lush beauty and survival in a way that no other place can compare. One can lose self in either place and be not a mile apart from one or the other.
Liken this to sin and forgiveness, holiness and blatant unrepentance just next door to each other. Fantastic, fascinating, luring and repellant all in one. It is amazing and horrid all at once.
See the needle-sharp threats of the flora, the vicious, survival-killing virility of the breathing creatures. These are glimpses of hell. But they congregate on the borders of paradise, shady stones and spring-fed life that deny their very banners of death and destruction.
Do I love the desert? Obviously. Not as a representation of paradise, the earth and heavens to come. I see the paradoxical dichotomy of life and death therein, with a turn that can kill or one that can save life. Why walk the desert? Why course those old, forgotten paths that may have been created by wind, or beasts, or real men? I think to follow them is to follow a theology, a line of belief that will reveal the End.
I hope to end there, in the sand, as I have written before, perhaps only for my own selfish sentimental silliness. But it means to me, the desert, the narrow and broad road of sin and holiness. It is a painting, beautiful and grand, that God has painted which can kill or save, cast into eternity just in the looking. It represents our short-lived travel through this life, following rabbit trails of folly and faith.
There is the Desert.