This is definitely different.  I’m sitting outside on a patio as I write this.  The smoker, holding our turkey, is going.  The sun shines down and the temp is 55 degrees.

We are definitely not in Shelton anymore, folks.  And I’m loving it.

The natural landscape.

The natural landscape.

It’s chillier here than I thought it would be.  It’s fall.  The acacia trees are a glorious yellow-brown.  Some bushes and flowers are blooming, even in November.  This is the desert, after all.  Every single tree had to have been deliberately planted by someone.  What grows naturally?  Tumbleweeds, a few scruffy trees and weeds.  I’ve seen loads of oleander and yucca as decorative foliage.  The caliche (ka-lee’-chee) in the soil prevents good growing conditions for things we take for granted, like grass.  I did see an astroturf patch of lawn, however.  But don’t tell anyone.  Read what Wikipedia has to say about caliche:

Caliche beds can cause many problems when trying to grow plants. First, an impermeable caliche layer prevents water from draining properly, which can keep the roots from getting enough oxygen. Salts can also build up in the soil due to the lack of drainage. Both of these situations are detrimental to plant growth. Second, the impermeable nature of caliche beds also prevents plant roots from going through the bed, which means the roots have a limited supply of nutrients, water, and space, so they cannot develop normally. Third, caliche beds can also cause the surrounding soil to be basic. The basic soil, along with calcium carbonate from the caliche, can prevent plants from getting enough nutrients, especially iron. An iron deficiency will cause the plant’s youngest leaves to become yellow. Soil saturation above the caliche bed can make the condition worse.

And yet, you know what grows here?  Jojoba.  Aloe vera.  Agave.  Cassia.  We visited the world-famous cactus garden at Ethel M. Chocolates (a must-see and taste) and were overwhelmed at the beauty birthed in the desert.  These coveted plants, in lotions, hair products and medicines, grow best in this non-fertile soil.  Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor.

Photo courtesy of tripadvisor.com

Photo courtesy of tripadvisor.com

It reminds me that nothing and no one is beyond hope.  God can bring beauty out of the desert.  The sunrise this morning, laden with pink and orange clouds, mesmerized me.  The sun lit up the mountains.  I find myself thanking Him for His faithfulness to all of His creation today.

… On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. – Revelation 22:2

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