Slow down, wait patiently for God and have hope SanTan Sun News

Slow down, wait patiently for God and have hope

Slow down, wait patiently for God and have hope
Spirituality
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By Lynne Hartke
Guest Columnist

A saguaro ladened with three-inch creamy blossoms beckons me closer, but the fifteen-foot main portion of the giant makes taking photos of the flowers on the crown difficult.

For me, the blooming of the saguaro signals the beginning of the end of spring and the arrival of desert summer.

I am not sure botanists would agree, but my unscientific surmising after years of hiking desert trails is that the saguaro waits to bloom last, after all the wildflowers and other cacti—after the golden poppies, the purple scorpionweed and the yellow prickly pear. 

I see another saguaro off the main trail and bend low under the yellow-flowered branches of a palo verde tree that guards the entrance of a desert wash.

The paws of my rust-colored mutt, Mollie, barely sink into the loose sand, but my neon pink runners leave definitive imprints behind me.

I can imagine we are the first to discover this side adventure on South Mountain until I almost step in a pile of horse manure.

Unsettled by our arrival, the warning cry of a Gambel’s quail breaks the silence of the early morning. With a whirr of wings, the rest of the covey abandons a low mesquite bush for a higher outcropping of boulders.

The plaintive call of a lone quail — a fledgling abandoned in the mesquite — rings out again and again, until Mollie’s curious nose encourages the young flyer to try out his wings and join the rest of the group.

I lean down for a whiff of a nearby bush covered in two-inch, cylindrical, yellow spikes. When I snap off a scented cluster, I feel the jab of a curved thorn and remember the plant’s name—catsclaw acacia (senegalia greggii).

The Southwest Desert Flora website reports the flowers to be one of the most important nectar sources for honey bees in the desert, and the incessant buzzing of those pollinators supports the statement.

The dense thorns make the bush almost impossible to penetrate, giving the bush another name—the wait-a-minute bush.

I can imagine cowhands driving cattle through the wash and having many complaints to make about the wait-a-minute bush that lacerates clothing and skin and forces them to slow down.

Which is a good thing to consider in the changing of seasons, especially the arrival of desert summer. By a good thing, I mean, the slowing down, the pausing to wait. Romans 8:25 (ESV) says, “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

Under a giant saguaro that waits to bloom last and beside a scraggly bush that beckons for a minute, I pull out a granola bar and consider areas in my life where I need to wait for what I do not yet see and to have hope.

I toss a cookie to Mollie and pray that others will find rest in the shade of my life as they join me in the waiting.

Lynne Hartke is the author of Under a Desert Sky and the wife of pastor and Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke. She blogs at lynnehartke.com.

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