Drop by drop and breath by breath, rocks in the hills where I live are worn from rough mountains to smooth stones you can hold in your hand. They’ve been sculpted by time and life from something that holds you up to a gift you can pick up and give to a friend.
The landscape in West Texas doesn’t hide much. During the day you can see just about everything between the bright blue sky and the hard brown earth for miles around. Plains give way to rolling hills, then steep mountains. Jagged volcanic rocks pierce soft grasslands. Trees grow where there is no soil. And you can certainly see how dry it is; this is the only place where I have seen rainfall evaporate before it reached the ground.
But today the rain touches the ground and, paradoxically, the mist that covers the hills reveals life in the rocks and grasses that the clear sunny days had hidden. Purple, yellow, and white flowers dot the roadsides and peek out from under the cacti and boulders. On a day like this, the rain is like a like a message from a long lost love, softening the parched earth as friendship softens the heart.
Soon, the dry weather will return. There will still be great beauty in the desert. Trees will still grow where there is no soil. Beneath the rocks and grasses, prairie verbena and star cloak fern wait; when their memory is stirred, they will bloom again. This earth is hard, but it is not barren.