The short Arizona winter hustled in, as temperatures dropped, rain fell and wind blew. The blustery weather, a change from our usual more than 300 days of sunshine, was a little late in coming this year. Climate change, we guessed, shrugged our shoulders and buttoned up.
So it was that as the slew of wintry days arrived, so did our trusty gardener, armed with lopper, saw and trimmer, intent on cutting back the wild desert foliage in front of our house. As the equipment whirred, he made haste of the job, hacking off dead branches, pruning back willowy boughs, raking out tangled underbrush and leaving the yard now seemingly barren, the plants cut to the quick.
Aghast, I asked timidly, would our little piece of desert bloom again come spring?
The gardener answered with a slight smile and a nod upward.
So as February turned to March, and the rains came in full force, Mother Nature was at work. Even on the now most scrawny shrub, even the most bare tree, even the most pared down plant, each morning I noticed yet another tiny green shoot.
As the month went on, sprigs on the flowering bushes swelled with plump buds portending new flowers, even the cactus greened with prickly new growth.
I marveled at Mother Nature’s work, watching as our little patch of desert slowly blossomed.
Particularly this year, after the long, dark COVID winter, the deadening isolation, the separation from friends and family, the dread of contracting the deadly virus, the suffering of so many, the miracle of new life was particularly poignant.
We had experienced it a few weeks earlier, when a new puppy joined our family, soft and and cuddly, with bright eyes and wagging tail, wet nose and a sweet and loving disposition. His boundless energy kept us hopping, his endless curiosity opening our eyes yet anew to the wonders of the world around us. He scampered up rocks, explored every corner of our yard, chased leaves, caught errant blossoms, finding joy wherever he happily went.
And then, a few months later, just weeks before the first day of spring, a new granddaughter arrived.
Healthy and whole, her parents proud, her big brother and sister smitten from their first glimpse of the precious bundle. They gently cradled her in their arms, feeling her warmth, stroking the fuzz on her head, gasping excitedly as she grasped their fingers. My husband and I watched, rapt, on our screens, yearning to be there with them, soon enough.
A new baby is a precious gift, a reminder yet again of nature’s potential for rebirth and renewal, to repair the earth and create new little ones for us to have and to hold. And to love.
It is the wonder of divine plan or divine hand at work, as the earth turns from season to season, from one generation to the next, as my gardener gently suggested with his eyes turned towards the heavens.
And so it goes, come spring, in this season of renewal, faith renewed, hope resurgent.
And pure joy resplendent.