Once in a while the incessant heat of the desert southwest surprises me. Those incredible dust storms that approach like something out of an apocalyptic movie! Skies that sometimes open up as if Niagara Falls has been rerouted directly overhead! Lightening that flashes then becomes the sound of the earth cracking open and rolling in an ominous wave of booming vibrations.
And there’s sometimes a rare day of soft misty rain that lightens the air and sets the scent of creosote wafting about. Not at all desert-like in its gentleness.
You see, the desert seems made of extremes. Incredibly hot in the daytime, even in the winter, and chill you to the bone coldness at night. Then Summer sends its death rays beating down, threatening any and all. Even summer nights press in and slow bake a person to a parched muddled mess.
Just lately, in the past day or two, and for a week or more, the desert sends surprise gifts to those who are paying attention. Venturing down almost any road you’ll see bursts of lavender and purple, nearly iridescent and glowing with saturated color. Desert Sage has popped and fills a bush to overflowing masses of tiny buds, almost completely obscuring the green bush it grows from.
Other flowers are blooming, just not in the shouting, hog the limelight way that the sage is doing. The purples act like highlighter on a page, pointing out the good stuff, the memorable, the positive.
Every plant sighs out a breath of beauty, a whisper of hope, a mantra for life.
Seeing such abundance amidst the oppressive center of summer provides an emotional cooling. Amazing what a bit of color can do for the soul.
What colors light up your day? Do you even pay attention to the colors around you? Or is your life all black and white and gray? The unique narrator in Markus Zusak’s YA novel The Book Thief sees life in colors beyond imagining. (Read it and thank me later!)
“People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it’s quite clear
that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations with each passing moment.
A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors. Waxy yellows, cloud-spot blues.
Murky darkness. In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.”— Markus Zusak
I think I need to open my eyes more often to the color and variety of everything around me. It’s easy not to notice. It takes some conscious thought to pay attention and see the extraordinary in the everydayness around us.
“Every hour can consist of a thousand different colors” he says. I’m not sure I could count that many in one hour. Perhaps I, too, need to make it a point to notice them.
The purple will serve as my reminder this week, to open my eyes and really see.