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Desert Rose

In a small village in Andalucia, on the flank of a hill that burns in a southern sun, there is a small cortijo with an equally small garden. One can sit on the stone bench here, gathering breath, enjoying restful shade, before completing the climb in the raking heat. I imagine death and leavetaking to be like this. Gardens and oases have long been the symbol of respite from the harsh life journey. In the face of illness and death, that protection seems compromised. The garden becomes no more than the temporary refuge it is – the journeyer has no choice but to move on, to face up to the unsheltered power of the blazing sun, leaving behind a life loved and beloveds cherished. Burning up, desiccated, the heat and light become purifiers, the outer shell is scorched away, and the fragrant pink rose is cast aside, for the lean parched glory of the desert rose.

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