Deserts and Beginnings

A few days ago, I got into a massive project. You know, the dreaded yet invigorating purging ritual so folksily called, “Spring Cleaning.”

The upheaval, not the reorganizing, challenges me. Stacks upon stacks of family photos – how did I ever collect so many? – bloom anew with intoxicating fragrance.

One room transformed. Victoriously, I move to the next. Inevitably, defeat heaps upon victory: the first room mysteriously even more disarrayed than before. Piles inching toward the front door tauntingly whisper, “Uh-huh. This you call progress?”

Slipping out of a stack, something flutters and lands face up.

A postcard image – not glitzy – perhaps taken from the back of a camel, looks over a dozen camels walking away, advancing through rippling Sahara sands. It struck me with the same startling freshness as my father’s announcement.

“We’re moving to Tripoli, Libya. North Africa.” The light danced in his pale green eyes. My three brothers and I had just finished our dinner. Mother sat quietly as I positively gaped. Ranging from age 7 to 15, we struggled to wrap our young brains around this news. My only reference was I knew I loved our family camping trips. We hiked through majestic national parks in the U.S.A…. but we always came home. Midland. The west Texas desert… our desert.

I had no idea the transforming effect this uprooting would bring to my life.

Turning over the card, bright red felt tip capitals wished me “Happy Birthday.” This card recalls the beginnings of my great world travel adventures, some beginning on my birthday. Travel… the best birthday gift ever. Even now, I greet each prospect feeling overjoyed, antsy with anticipation of fresh explorations and discoveries.

Thanks, Dad.

I love. Love. LOVE exploring new places and cultures. Thrills. Adventures. Frustrations give way to delights. Exhilarates. Refreshes. Teasingly yields wisdom.

Oh – my “Spring Cleaning”? I sense purpose in disguise. Transforming in surprise. Except, of course, there is no end. Only beginnings. Joyful, new beginnings.