Secrets of the Tumbleweed

March 16, 2018


   This place, an open sea of sand, is my blank page. My heart is as empty as the dreams and promises left scattered and broken, littering the landscape. Like the bleached bones of a creature who tried to make it but died. Like the eggs that never became the lives they could have been. But this is, at least in part, the mystery of life. Fertility and barrenness, two ends of a continuum. Two roles in the same monologue. The two faces of Eve.

   Out on the hard packed sand I’m spinning in a manic circle. This is my go-to action when I’m deeply distressed. I’m taking part in an ancient rite, maybe not one so pure or enlightened: The crazy circle. The action is oddly calming, deeply mesmerizing and addictive. My thoughts can’t find an exit or a proper road forward, so I choose to comfort myself in this mindless groove. The whirling dervish. A tumbleweed’s dance.

   Spent everything I have. Now I sit on the sidewalk at the end of the street, in the heat and the dust. Everything in sepia tones. This is some badly-written western! All the green has shriveled up long ago and so it’s only tumbleweeds that skitter by, dry reminders of what has died. Wispy skeletons whispering defeat.

   I have to leave this place. There isn’t anything here for me anymore. All I have is a suitcase and my not-so-fine lines. Nothing real can be stolen from me, but I feel bereft. Where is my home now? Where is the warm welcome? Where do they know my story and my journey?

   I’ll have to get on the train and leave this last whistle stop. I’ll get a seat by the window and watch the emptiness slither by. I don’t believe that I’ll glimpse anything hopeful. I’ve drained all my memories dry. All the hopes and dreams belong to someone else, now. Where can I find new hope?

   The color and beauty have drained from my world. Everything is faded. Bled dry.

   BTW, where is this train going, besides away from this washed up and washed out dream? I need to be running toward something.

   I am weary all the way down to my deepest soul. I feel it’s as shriveled as the view out my window! Can anything take root in the Saharan soil of my soul?

   But seeds are miracles. They can lie dormant for a thousand years, without a single hope to stir them. Suddenly, they are discovered and dug up from their interment in an ancient urn. If they are planted, they will bear fruit. Not one of those decades takes a toll on the forgotten seeds. A hundred decades doesn’t kill the secret life stored in these once lost seeds. What an amazing truth!

   I am a seed buried. Decades have been lost. But these decades have stamped their messages on my spiritual DNA, because I am more than a seed. All the lost years are not really lost. I can’t see it or understand it, but these silent burials are registered in my soul. New life will arise from these crypts.

   I try to believe this now in my desert of ashes. Goodness and gold can never be truly lost or destroyed. The fiercest fires have reduced everything I see to ashes. But I can’t see everything that’s going on! My eyes are blinded by both smoke and tears. My dreams have been incinerated in front of me, shoveled into the furnace. My hopes suffocated alongside them. My life is a graveyard.

            This is the barrenness I’m feeling. It is deeply personal and deeply disturbing. The tumbleweed seems as unlikely to take root and bear leaves as the sun-baked bones to rise from the sand and dance.

            But I am unaware that in an invisible world the seeds of hope are vibrating in their crypt with secret power. The dried bones are shaken by a holy wind and rise to join in a celebration dance to life. The tumbleweed is caught against a rock in a deluge of life that bursts its branches into an impossible green.

            My soul can never die. It has eternity written in all its cells. After this death comes life. Once again.

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