I savor those wonderful winter-into-spring days when the air is crisp, the sun is out, and the desert begins to come alive. Today, Rodman Rim hosts a dusting of snow, but down below where Bear Creek meanders, it is warmer and the soil is clear of winter’s white traces. The small brook is swollen by spring runoff but you would not notice unless you’ve seen the creek in late summer. This ribbon of water is barely three feet across when full.

We are hiking uphill from the creek drainage in search of whatever nature offers and are not disappointed. Actually, we are never disappointed. Pink phlox is beginning to bloom in patches here and there. Tiny yellow brewer’s navarretia dot the landscape. This is a ‘belly flower’ you can only appreciate by getting close to the ground. Biscuit root is making its debut, with cauliflower shaped clusters of tiny white flowers on a bed of fern-like greens. Other forbs are preparing to make an entrance. Bitterroot is sending up spidery fingers of green, creating a display that looks like tendrils of numerous sea anemones.

Clouds overhead begin to gather and darken. Looking somewhat ominous, they are only teasing—unwilling to surrender any moisture to the ground. The gray billowing pillows provide a contrasting backdrop to the desert hills, a little visual interest floating in a spacious blue sky. A gentle breeze cleanses my lungs and refreshes my mood. The wind is more kind than I would have thought considering the stern countenance of the clouds. I am grateful.

It is very comforting to be surrounded by natural elements untouched by the rampant fear of coronavirus. If we look at the world with open eyes, most of what we see is untouched by fear. The earth and sky are not worrying. Only the human species are so self-important they treat the whole planet in a socially distant way. But it is important to learn something from natural cycles. Without discounting the real challenge of the virus, we need to put it in perspective before we implode. Or maybe we have to fall in upon ourselves and wake up to something beyond human self-centeredness.

In this moment, I watch nature exhibiting all the beauty of life and death. New growth arises from dead and dry foliage. Everything born is bound to die. Death prepares the ground for rebirth. But my heart goes out to those who are suffering with the viral illness. May they and their loved ones discover some insightful awareness amidst their pain.

For the rest of us, may we surrender our distress to the untouched world that forever cradles us in her arms. She is spacious wisdom, the dakini’s warm breath, whispering soothing words to calm our fears. 

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