It is cool and rainy out, in answer to prayers prayed over the past four months. Pollen, smoke, dirt, and dust that’s been swirling in a seemingly unending wind since March has finally settled and our small part of the West can breathe easier, at least for today. Much of New Mexico has been on fire since the beginning of May and only now are the firefighters getting any kind of help or relief.

The rain seemed to cool not only the ground but also that fear which has built in all of us as we slowly realize we don’t know how to be under this hot, dry ‘new normal’. Over the past month I’ve been twice surrounded by street racers while driving in Albuquerque, seen people yelling at each other in public, and had to step outside and deeply inhale the dusty, smokey air while reading articles about how low the Colorado River is, to keep from having a panic attack while at work. The anxiety, anger, and sadness is real.

But, so is the beauty. Last night I floated down the muddy Rio Grande at sunset and watched chickens cluck around in a field of wildflowers. The drive home was all pinks and oranges as the sunset exploded and kept exploding. This morning, the peonies on my dining table have officially turned from light pink to brown, like I tripped and spilled tea on their edges. The birds outside are extra vocal, as if they forgot how good it feels to take a bath and can smell the worms just beneath the damp dirt.

Depending on my mood, so much beauty can also be sad. But, today I’ll appreciate it and let it just be beautiful.

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