Painted Deserts

We walk our painted deserts on numbered days

In the shadow of mountains hemmed by time

We carry Your beauty crowned upon us

A tale that is told, a fleeting rhyme

We flourish as grass to fall and wither

Naked under wheeling desert suns

Lost in everlasting, a watch in the night

On captured seconds our course we run.

And this is our cry to the encircling sky

That girds our peregrine ways

Satisfy the yearning of hearts that are burning

And make us glad, oh make us glad all our days. 

For over a month now, I have been trying to give voice to what Psalms 90 means to me. I started to write it when I was still in Thailand in March, but somehow it didn’t seem to come together. Flying home, I traveled through Korea, landed in Los Angeles and then took the train from there to Hutchinson. This saved me money and gave me the time I needed to process and relax. It was just what the doctor ordered. I have irrevocably fallen in love with Amtrak now. We drove through a lot of deserts and grasslands and it served to give a bit of a frame for what I was trying to say. While the desert may seem boring to some, I find in it a wild beauty and tenacity that is impossible to find in most parts of the world. That, coupled with the wide open sky of my own prairie roots, makes it a place I actually find refreshing (for a short period of time, anyway).

6 thoughts on “Painted Deserts

  1. Last fall I saw true desert for the first time; it was from the air between Denver and Portland. I was so grateful for a window seat to watch the scenery. It wasn’t a boring dry expanse but a fascinating landscape of many hills and valleys. –Linda Rose

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  2. You two are my heroes! I first saw the California desert as a child and did not appreciate it – too much sand, large empty expanses, and Joshua Trees! I haven’t had the chance to go back since… but it’s nice to see it through other eyes when I read your poem.

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  3. This is so beautiful, Lori. Glad you could get that space to process. And to find that you love Psalm 90! The first verse has for several years now been one of the credos I repeat aloud when I am feeling a little lost. I love the spin you took on the whole Psalm in your poem.

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    1. Yes I love that first verse. And the entire chapter too, but the first verse has a way of putting everything in perspective. Not only that, it reminds me that with my wandering habits, God is my dwelling place and the place where I am at home.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, yes! That’s exactly it. I am a wanderer too, and sometimes I get tired of it, and then I repeat that verse and remember what’s actually going on in the bigger picture.

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