CCB desert night
Picture of Janet


Bathe My Soul in the Desert Starlight

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Yesterday I was driving home to Texas. We spent four days in my beloved Mexico and despite our initial trip going down with Hurricane Dolly, the trip went smooth. I am back today feeling refreshed.  I’ve told you before, that desert oasis nourishes me and it did again this time. We worked hard days in the heat, setting up equipment in the pozas, the small pools of water dotting the valley that look like little bits of the Caribbean ocean dropped from the sky. We packed our gear each evening with an eye on the sun as it fell through the sky to disappear behind gypsum dunes. As it ceased to heat the caliches covered roads, we headed back to town, to share tacos and paletas. The town comes alive at night in this desert place. While the stars show their finest lights, moms and dads, babies and grandma’s pull their metal worked summer chairs to doorways and patios, to catch the rapidly cooling air. The sky is cloudless and the night air is refreshing in the only way relief from 100 plus degree heat can make you welcome late night breezes. Rather than sleep, it’s what you do in the desert.  As I walk down the street, I softly acknowledge, “Buenas noches” to those I now know and those I don’t. I’ve come here often enough now to make a few friends, certainly a number of acquaintances, and even if I must rely upon good wishes from my heart mirrored in my eyes more than the proper Spanish words coming from my mouth, a common bond is there. This place nourishes them as well. 

The last night of my stay, our Mexican collaborators and friends managed to get the key that would open the gate to the road that can take you to the gypsum dunes themselves. They are protected now, from tourists and the curious. We packed into our cars, about 40 of us, and headed out to watch the sun set, sitting on the dunes rather than watching them from afar. Among desert willow with small purple blossoms, I found a pure white hummock of roots and hardened gypsum, my own personal seat. Others, some in pairs, some in groups and some with the desire to feel the coming night sky with their own thoughts did likewise. The sun seemed to drop from the horizon, speeding towards the other side of the world. You know this if you are inclined to watch sunsets, they are almost over before you can think about them if you aren’t careful. You have to be still and watch.  My mind settled around the sunset. I remembered Jake telling me of the beauty of the ones witnessed in the deserts of Iraq. I think about Josh who is sees them now. I feel a companionship with my sons. As well as I know my own thoughts that this fleeting sunset brings to me, I know heart certain that Jake thought some of the very thoughts I am thinking this night. Bet he said a prayer or two, like me. When Josh comes homes, we will find a day to share and discover if our ruminations and meditations of sunsets run parallel. I bet they will. Somewhere inside me there is a peace. It’s bigger than words on paper, but I know where it comes from, it is love. Beyond definition, beyond description, and even somehow beyond time and space, it is love I can feel deep inside me.  

As the last few rays reach across the Mexican sky, Night begins her reign. There are only a few stars that wink and Venus makes her showy appearance early, as purple dusk turns to black and before I know it, the galaxy that my little earth home resides in is showing how grand this existence really is. A billion, billion stars make a haze of light in the night sky, arching over me, I hear from another hummock, “a Via Láctea”. The desert air, so thin and dry and clean, the night feels like something special because I have never seen the Milky Way with the eyes of who I am this day. A meteor falls, fast moving through our atmosphere and while my lids blink, its streak of light is gone. This is a special night. It’s hard to get back into the car, and there is stillness within this mass of forty people as we head back to town, for one more paleta and packing. Each at different places in our lives, this evening show of God’s extravagant creation has touched more than me. We will leave this place in the morning.

So yesterday across the northern Mexico desert, beautiful with greening ocotillo, lechiguilla, and yucca from Dolly, we speed home, pushing north to Texas. The wonder of last night still sits comfortably in my Mother’s heart. The young grad student who is learning about experiments and reminds me much of my own sons is quiet. With little preamble, he turns to me and says, “Sure puts you in your place to see the Milk Way, doesn’t it.” I just nod. One day, in God’s timing I will get to talk to John and we will speak of sunsets too and one then one fine day, I will see them from Heaven. It’s this very road I traveled one short month after Jake died, thinking thoughts and wondering how my heart would manage. I have the time while I drive to consider what I know about love now from then. I know it never ends.

Bible verse for the day: Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1st John 4:11

Quote of the day: Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love. Albert Einstein

Song of the day: Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

I have climbed highest mountain
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you

I have run 
I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls, these city walls
Only to be with you

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

I have kissed honey lips
Felt the healing in her fingertips
It burned like fire
This burning desire

I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone, mmm, hmmm

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

I believe in the kingdom come
Then all the colors will bleed into one, bleed into one
Well yes, I’m still running
You broke the bonds and you loosed the chains
Carried the cross of my shame, of my shame
You know I believed it

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

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