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Desert

Thursday, 13 June, 2019 - 7:43 pm

I was sitting at the dining room table when a movement outside the window caught my eye: I looked up to see a roadrunner. For those of you not in the Desert, a roadrunner is a bird: a cross between a woodpecker and an eagle that hasn't eaten for a week. From this roadrunner's mouth hung a white lizard, which looked like a Mattel dinosaur that hadn't been painted yet.

I ran to grab my new camera, a birthday present, a digital AK-47PX or something. My kids have been too busy to show me how it works and I've been too slow to learn.

I snapped away as the roadrunner repeatedly flung the lizard to the ground until the lizard's neck became covered with blood. The pictures, of course didn't come out, so no, National Geographic hasn't come calling.

To the right of our place forty homes are going up; to the left, hundreds already have. The desert vistas are giving way to tract homes. Those who haven't been to the desert are surprised when they get here; they expected endless sand dunes meandering around. Those who live here, think of it as hotter than Los Angeles, with better air than the Valley and less traffic than Orange County. With homes, golf courses, pools and malls the desert part of it is easily forgotten. Or ignored.

The desert is desolate, bare; where survival is chancy and death is a given. Where without irrigation and air-conditioning you would never go, never mind go for a honeymoon. But this is where the good L-rd took us as soon as we left Egypt.

There was no food, no water, and enough sun and scorpions to kill us all many times over. And we went. Blindly. Trustingly.

He led, we followed. Years later the marriage went sour; He remembered our blind love and so He turned a blind eye. Then we got sour with Him and so we too, turned a blind eye. And we settle into being an old married couple, aware of each other's shortcomings and not looking to rock the boat. And before we have a chance to get grumpy there comes along a Rebbe that brings a zest and a zing and everything back into the marriage. And we're back on a honeymoon.

For a honeymoon there is no place better than the Desert. Not because of the golf courses. The desert has its own beauty. The vastness, the emptiness the stark majesty calls to the fore something big, majestic and unchanging. Trees and grass, for all their beauty and usefulness, block that. Houses and fences, for all that we need them, call to mind our accomplishment. In the face of accomplishment, stark majesty is lost.

We go back to the desert, that state of blind love and that state of breathtaking majesty. Our love, His majesty. His love, that majesty that pulsates somewhere inside of us. Underneath all the accomplishments. Another anniversary draws close; we hold His hand and are grateful that our marriage feels young.

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