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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Dry Days

Heat Haze

Louisiana in September was like an obscene phone call from nature.”
Tom Robbins (Jitterbug Perfume)

I can relate. Here in Alabama, the temperature went into the mid-nineties in the second week of June, and hasn't budged since. It is stiflingly hot—the kind of thick, humid air that sticks to your body inside your clothing, and boils you from the inside out. All the trees are drooping, and dropping their leaves a month early. My back yard looks for all the world like the 1930's dust bowl. The dogs make little puffs of smoke then they run. The great Southern novelist, Pat Conroy, described the streets of Charleston on late summer afternoons this way: “like walking through gauze or inhaling damaged silk.”

I know how it feels to be dry—I'll bet you do, too. There's a kind of mental and emotional lethargy that feels like carrying a hundred pound weight on your shoulders. Nothing new happens, nothing excites, nothing enlivens. We all go through dry spells. The two trees taken down in my yard this week, one oak and one hickory, had been hollowed out by beetles and carpenter ants. They were still standing, but empty in the middle. Being dry makes you vulnerable to being hollowed out, whether you're a tree or a human being.

Finding the people, the activities, the beliefs, the shared interests that are wellsprings for us can be life-giving, maybe even life-saving. In dry times, when we feel hollowed out, taking one step in the direction of spiritual refreshment, diving deep into the green waters of life, restores our soul. It's too late for my trees, but it's not too late for us.

                                                      In the Spirit,


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