The days have been warm enough this week to turn on the cooler around 1pm and keep it on until evening. It does a great job cooling down the house. It's a swamp cooler, not air conditioning. And it's very effective here in this very dry climate. I think it's a lot drier here than it is in Phoenix....my lips get chapped quite often.
We are praying for rain. They've had a few years of drought here and there are now 4 big forest fires raging in the mountains around us...not our mountain range, but near enough to see the smoke. Last night I could hear the thunder and saw a few sprigs of lightning light up my living room window, but the rain did not fall on our neighborhood. I go out every morning and walk through the powdery dust of our front yard and water my little vegetable garden. The birds all fuss at me to fill the bird bath with water. There is never any moisture left in it 24 hours later.
The other night I was invited to eat dinner with a church friend. Our husbands were both out of town, so we planned a visit. She lives at the very top of a mountain. We sat out on the patio as the sun went down behind us and watched the mountain ranges change colors, the smoke from distant fires blew down the valleys and the lights of the nearby neighborhoods and then of Santa Fe came up and glistened as we chatted. Hummingbirds zipped all around our heads by the dozens! I think there were about 2 dozen of them at least, coming to her feeders to get their last sips of the day. A few times we saw 10-12 birds on one feeder, all sitting shoulder to tiny shoulder, heads popping up occasionally to peep at each other. I loved it! There were also all sorts of birds at other feeders and coming to drink at the pond and waterfall in front of us. She and her husband had very lovingly made an oasis in the dry climate. Plants, flowers and water all carefully placed and planned out, chairs and pathways in just the right places to catch the different venues of wildlife, nature and views.
We talked about our lives, where we'd lived, our families, our coming to know Christ. We talked about our love for the area and for nature. And we talked about how dear it is to have such a great fellowship of Christian friends here in the middle of this spiritually arid climate of secular society. That doesn't just happen and it is more and more dear, the older I get. I realized that has to be carefully and lovingly cultivated as well. It takes spending time together, just sitting together in the quiet evening, chatting about life or in each others' homes learning to better handle the Word of Truth.
As darkness came, her solar lighting came on and the landscaping made it's own little island of glowing lights. I realized it was time to drive back home. The mountain road seemed endless in the pitch black night (oh, I dislike driving by myself at night) and I was never so glad to see the main highway and know I was back to other people, to streetlights and the sure way home.
I feel the same way about our little church here, so blessed to have this community in this culturally arid climate. We need the rain, so the land will flourish again. It's nice to be in an oasis of life to enjoy when the land is so starved and dry. It's a vivid picture to me of what else we're missing....God's Word and Spirit to flow out of the oasis, so the dry souls will flourish too.
God, bless the land with rain, but most of all, bless the people here. The fires are ravaging the land, but the enemy is ravaging the people with false beliefs and sin. Send refreshing showers and the life-giving nourishment of Your Truth. Let Your love flow through Your servants like rain blesses a dry land.....