If you’ve been reading this column for several years, you know I tend to become pretty passionate during late March and early April as we see the arrival of spring. The transformation it brings to our north Texas landscape is nothing less than remarkable. For me, it symbolizes birth, renewal, resurrection.
This past week I have been observing a similar kind of transformation that doesn’t happen as often or on schedule, but which is equally wondrous. The country north of Dallas, where my little Siete Ranch retreat is located, has been in an extended drought, exacerbated by a string of 110-degree days. The result has been devastating. Watering the tiny front yard in front of my barn did little to slow the damage to the Bermuda grass; for the first time I feared that my stock tank might dry up; some of the cracks in the land were wide enough to swallow a horse’s hoof or break a calf’s leg. The country all around had turned to a dusty brown color, and all of us who raise cattle have been scrambling for hay.
Just as I was about to give up hope, we got four inches of rain over a two-day period at Siete Ranch. Within forty-eight hours the grass was greening up, and now the entire countryside is verdant and thriving in a way rarely seen this time of the year. What we believed would be a disastrous end-of-summer has turned into a fruitful beginning for the coming fall season. Ironically, it appears to my eye that the preceding drought actually contributed somehow to a magnificent summer rebound.
Nature has been my great teacher in recent years. Under its tutelage I have learned how to read the Bible more intelligently, and I have gained deeper insights into the rhythm of life, death, and resurrection. Nature is God’s original revelation, the source of wisdom for those who first began to pass on the Oral Tradition we now call scripture. And nature has taught me that when we think we are in what feels like an interminable dry season, it is time to remember that the seasons always change; that the moment when it seems all is lost is the moment that precedes new beginnings; that God is at work even in that crucible where everything feels hopeless.
Rev. Don Underwood