My husband observed the other day that the desert in April has plenty to teach us about enthusiasm for life.
It’s one of the things I love most about living here, a characteristic that resonates for me on a very deep level. It asks for so little, then shouts for joy once a year for the little it does receive. In my mind, the desert gives more than it gets.
Author C J Lyons said, “Creativity is living in possibility and abundance rather than limitation and scarcity.”
According to that definition, I think the desert is a perfect illustration of the creative mindset.
And from Joy Harjo: “I don’t see the desert as barren at all; I see it as full and ripe. It doesn’t need to be flattered with rain. It certainly needs rain, but it does with what it has, and creates amazing beauty.”
Here are just a few possible lessons I’ve made note of this spring:
1) By reflecting the light you receive, you appear much brighter and more colorful than you actually are. And you can make someone’s day.
I saw this brief glimpse of light on the mountains on my walk one evening. It lasted just about a minute, and provided a genuine high note to my day. Maybe I could do the same for someone else.
2) Never underestimate the beauty someone else is capable of producing.
This scrubby little guy lives out on our back hill. It’s a volunteer, nothing we planted, and it’s been half-eaten for as long as I’ve known it. I’ve also never seen it produce a single thing. This week I happened to raise the blind on a window I rarely use, and voila. As my daughter said, “How could something produce not one, but two glorious things, bigger than itself, on a single day?”
3) Aim high and stay focused on your goal.
I went out of town for a couple of weeks, and came home to find these in a neighbor’s yard. I walk past those plants every day, and they don’t do much. But when they do decide to do a thing, they really do it. And they do it on schedule. No procrastination, no lollygagging. I’ve got about a dozen things on my to-do list that could benefit from that kind of focus.
4) It’s okay to act silly.
Even the mighty saguaro puts on a too-small, goofy spring bonnet once a year. And it literally makes me smile-out-loud. It’s almost as if those tiny flowers reveal a side of the desert giants that I never would have suspected, given their age and stature.
5) If you have a gift, share it. No one likes a show off, but if you’re the best at something, go ahead and shine. (And don’t hog the spotlight for too long.)
Even the most extroverted cacti only take the stage for about a day. But wow, is it worth the wait. This performance is, of course, made all the sweeter by its impermanence.
I’m sure I could think of many more, but the main desert lesson I try to remember all year is to be grateful for what I receive, magnify the gifts I have, and squeeze the most out of each day…every single drop.