God fills man’s soul with all good things SanTan Sun News

God fills man’s soul with all good things

February 4th, 2021 Editorial Staff
God fills man’s soul with all good things
Spirituality
0

By Lynne Hartke
Guest Writer

Spring is my favorite season in the desert. Golden poppies. Trumpeting red penstemon. Delicate purple asters.

My husband Kevin and I always make it a priority to put in miles on desert trails when the flowers begin to arrive.

But something occurs before the arrival of orange, red, purple and other blooming beauty. Something more subtle, yet necessary. We discovered it on a recent hike on the Pyramid Trail on South Mountain.

At first, I was disappointed when we snapped a leash on our dog Mollie and headed up the dozens of switchbacks, making me aware of every hour I had spent on the couch during stay-at-home mandates.

I had known seeing flowers was unlikely, but I searched, nonetheless.

The dormancy of winter is a challenging season. As a child, growing up in the Midwest, winter meant months of a whitened landscape. As a desert dweller, winter means brown. Miles and miles of brown.

It is as if the exterior decorator took a trip to Home Depot and came home with the brown palette. Brown sugar. Chocolate sundae. Log cabin syrup. The color names of brown tell me one thing – when people gaze at brown, they get hungry.

After limited summer and winter rains, even the cactus looked empty, like prisoners on starvation diets. We passed barrel cactus and saguaros that had simply given up and toppled, right next to the trail, as they succumbed to New Year’s fad diets to lose weight. Too much weight.

I had hoped time on the trails would lighten the load I carried of family responsibilities, news of political unrest, and a lingering pandemic, but instead I found my heart weighed down by brown.

Simmering latte. Turkish coffee. Steeped tea.

Long winter seasons not only make you hungry. But thirsty. So thirsty.

“Look at that!” I exclaimed. Up ahead, an ocotillo plant sprouted tiny leaflets all along the spindly branches. Green! So much green!

Like many desert plants, the ocotillo discards its leaves during drought in order to survive. At the base of the ocotillo, the silver green leaves of a brittlebush were evident. Where had the plants discovered sufficient moisture to produce leaves?

Suddenly, our brown-drenched eyes switched to green. Enlightened lime. Pale parsnip. Pea green. Sea green. Avocado.

“The elephant tree has leaves too,” Kevin exclaimed, pointing to a short tree with white, shedding bark that smelled like frankincense. When we had hiked in the area two weeks earlier, the tree had sported no green foliage.

Life was being pulled from the ground.

Lucky shamrock. Ming jade. Breath of sage.

Beautiful, green life.

For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. Psalm 107:9 ESV

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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