“Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” -Isaiah 43:19 (NKJV)
It has been said that life is unpredictable, but change is inevitable. Live long enough, and each of us will experience births, deaths, celebrations and setbacks. Change is a part of daily life, the ebb and flow of our existence.
Two Octobers ago, my husband and I witnessed a surprising change that took place at my favorite wildlife refuge. Situated back off the highway in an area reachable only by a dirt road, Baskett Slough is a wintering home for Canada geese and a host of other wildlife. It’s a rare visit when we don’t spot beaver and nutria paddling their way across the water, or a Great Blue Heron tiptoeing through neck-high grass on a fishing expedition.
This visit proved to be different, though.
We pulled up to the viewing area and I steadied my telescopic camera lens. It was then I realized that a drastic change had taken place within a few weeks’ absence. Instead of clear blue water, we found a whole lot of nothingness. No water, no geese, no songbirds. No furry animals paddling to the other side. Baskett Slough was uncharacteristically desolate and dry. A single fish flip-flopped in a small puddle of muddy water near the shore.
We whined about the awfulness of it all, but quickly recognized a rare opportunity: we could walk out across land that was usually submerged! A trail led down a grassy hill, where we made our way onto rock-hard, parched ground. Its deep crevices reminded me of a photo of a leathery, lined nomad’s face I’d seen in a recent issue of National Geographic magazine.
I wandered off with my camera, not knowing what to expect. To my surprise, I discovered life springing up between those crevices like miniature gifts of autumn. Splashes of gold and red dotted the parched landscape, where delicate, blooming vines curled over and between rocks. Tiny blossoms sprouted in tangles along a sandy edge where water once lapped. It was a fascinating dichotomy of nature, this mix of desolation and new life.
Drought has an astonishing way of forcing change. We witnessed it that day at the wildlife refuge, and again after a forest fire, where wildflowers eventually transformed charred ground into an artist’s palette of colors. Change sweeps through, and a once-predictable plot of land becomes something else seemingly overnight.
It’s not unlike what happens to you and I, when suddenly we realize that our journey through a season of drought has worked something deeper and richer and better into our lives-something we could not have learned any other way.
©2008, Bonnie Bruno
For more slice-of-life stories, visit Bonnie’s Macromoments blog: http://macromoments.blogspot.com