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Think of a desert. It has been cold. It has been hot. Things scurry about on the sand. Other things crawl into the shade of rocks or below. Some predators. Some prey. All trying to survive the extremes of moment to moment. The rain comes and the smell is unique. A few green things try to sprout in their short lifespan. A small critter drowns in a wash. Something is born and scuttles away. A branch cracks half off a limb and hangs in the arid breeze like a signpost in a ghost town. Within a few hours the dry is once again Lord of all. The blue sky offers no relief. A cloud is a joke. The silence is deeper than the ocean. Climbing the hill gives way to openness that suggests there are no more hills to climb. But there always are. And the color, oh, the color is the thing. Stop moving. Listen to the color. See the soundlessness. Taste the dust. Breathe in the nothingness. Be the desert. Raw. Crisp. Paper-thin. Gone.

A sudden mirage floats toward me carrying a cup of sweet water. Who is she that dares walk at noon with a chalice? Who is this who is the turquoise river and the sparkle sea in the middle of the blazing day? Who is it that anoints me with the baptism mission of soul and entices me with an artesian holy grail? Did I fall asleep?

O parched lips open and take sweet drinks of hope one more time. One more time rise and say Yes. Shake the dust from your feet of clay and bathe in the life-giving presence of the still waters and drink deep from the communion of saints.

And Know this: it is the desert that is the mirage.


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