You cannot find the treasure hidden in this land unless the heart can listen to the song of the surrounding mountains. Until you feel the flame of brilliant sunsets and warm openness of its people. Strangers smile at you on the street, step forward and open a door for you, giving of themselves with no thought of return. Perhaps it is because so many pulled up stakes, left jobs, families, friends -- came here to survive. It is a brave land, full of brave people. People who have known their share of shadow and struggle.
Close your eyes. See swaying Conestoga wagons plod through endless sand. Hear bone-dry axles groan in protest, feel the courage, the raw, deep courage of early settlers. That spirit still hovers over this land, living again in the hearts of today's pioneers who dared a new life.
It is a land that speaks to those who listen. You do not conquer it; it conquers you. You feel one with it in the only way to truly be one with anything; aware of the challenge it presents, the respect it demands.
The mountains look down on you with their faces of light and shadow, mirroring life. And you remember that shadows are but another face of light. Only wait a little while and the brightness returns. It is never absent. It is only you who move into shadow that you may return to light with more awareness.
Hear the silent desert speak. You think this is important, this petty detail on the face of time? Look again, friend. Remember, not so long ago survival was all. One prayer --- a long, clear drink of water. Watch water rushing from the tap and remember. Remember what is really important when the flies of fear and self-doubt swarm around you. With its almost human sentinel figures of ancient saguaros, this is the desert's message.
And you will answer this land with a part of you that was almost lost in canyons of concrete and endless ribbons of freeways. The lesson of the land becomes clear. Be still and know. Feel the eternity of now.
For no matter what man creates or destroys, the desert remains, teeming with existence that uses what little is at hand to bring life out of barrenness and fiery heat.
And when you have listened and heard the voices of the mountains and desert, the soft night come. As the mountains promise the return of light and the desert breathes attention to the eternal now, so the stars bring the hope of tomorrow in crystal nearness. You can finally rest on attainment; learn to treasure each moment.
For this land reminds us that shadows are fleeting, but light is eternal.
Copyright (c) 2007 Anne Forrest Elmore