The tempter lives here, somewhere in the shimmering heat, his lies a mirage. But the truth is here too, in pillars of fire and burning bushes that consume nothing and everything at the same time: leaves and faces ablaze. Here is a place for paga meetings on summits above, when dry dust from broken stone tablets catches in your throat even as you try to pray. Here is thirst of the panting deer and water gushing from rocks, split open like the heads of the unbalanced and unwary. Here is a rain of quails and a covering of honey wafer, what-is-it? confusing your mind with its mantle of snowy white crumbling.
And here is the place of tents and tabernacles, the twisting path of a lost people, going around in circles, caught in a spiral journey that never seems to end. Forty days, forty nights, forty years. Each ending atop a peak, each carrying an ark, and then the newcomer, old as the universe, stood here and calmly hungered, patiently thirsted. Everything inside him complaining that he could end the suffering here and now, calling forth a whole new cosmos if needed. And he knew and he knows, and he still chooses to keep the vigil, alongside us in our lack. This torrent of love will slake all thirsts, and this broken bread leave behind basketfuls to be gathered up daily. The desert borne become a place of abundance.
© Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2016
Photo from morguefile.com