Tuesday, June 29, 2010

You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman

My apologies to Carole King, who was most certainly singing about a passionate lover, while I address a mountain-ringed desert (although, now that I think about it, the Cascade Mountain Range does somewhat mimic the pattern of James Taylor's receded hairline...but I digress.)

My new home has inspired a fondness for weeds, rocks, dirt, and a variety of critters that, in my previous life, would have me forking over big bucks to exterminate.

I just returned from a walk to the community mailbox, dodging chipmunks, lizards,the occasional mouse, and a mama bird making sure I don't venture anywhere near her ostentatious nest, conveniently erected next to our front door---where unsuspecting visitors get dive-bombed and screeched at. (By her, not me.)

Our own nest rises out of a natural high desert landscape, where even the dead trees and bushes are left intact because they are home to little critters and shelter to those journeying through. This is a zero maintenance setting---no lawn, no gardens, no rose-laden trellises, no swimming pool, no fences. This means no mowing, fertilizing, pruning, tilling, trimming, edging, weeding, insecticiding, watering, planting, re-planting, irrigating. No paying through the nose for our human idea of a perfectly maintained yard, which pretty much involves removing what nature had there to begin with in order to put something there that we would have chosen if God had left us in charge that day.

He did a pretty good job actually. The things that grow in my yard serve many purposes with the natural scheme of the locale. And they are beautiful. Where did we get the idea that some plants are good and others bad? Only the things that can take care of themselves exist here---and they thrive. Weeds change color and often have beautiful blossoms, did you know that?

I do nothing to my yard but look at it, watch it evolve, soak in its pretty little gifts as seasons change. There is no fighting with this garden, no trying to tweak it, guide it, shape it, make it something other than what it is meant to be. I just watch it and try not to interfere too much. And share it with the animals that wander through, excited as all get-out about its bounty of food, shelter, and play structures. Most of which, to the suburbanite I used to be, would seem to just be weeds, rocks, stumps, and dirt. Turns out they are a whole lot more. They comprise another universe showing God's gentle, brilliant touch on our earth.

Maybe we spend too much of our lives trying to change things that are, left alone, perfect for their purpose.

Maybe we need to seek better understanding of the things (or people?) we want to change before making that to-do list.

Maybe we just need to see things differently. "Desert eyes" can surprise you.

Maybe, just maybe, we make life so much more complicated than it needs to be...or was intended to be.

Like Paul said, "Let it be."