mike lives in spokane washington and is a pastor at a spirit community called branches

Death Valley, Hardship and Wildflowers

Death Valley, Hardship and Wildflowers

Image from Randy Lemoine via flikr found  here

Image from Randy Lemoine via flikr found here

Life can be dry and dormant and dehydrated of all that gives us hope. 

Leaves can be replaced by dust and streams by dried up river beds. 

We’re not always living in the oasis. 

Sometimes the ground we stand on stretches for miles - dusty and lacking any sort / sign of flourishing. 

Life can be like Death Valley. 

A place averaging 2.36 inches of rainfall per year.

A place with the hottest temperature ever recorded at a measly 134 degrees.

A place where the ground can reach temperatures of 201 degrees - 11 degrees less than the temperature at which water boils. 

As its name suggests, it’s a valley full of death.

Cracked ground stretching for miles on end. 



Just like our lives at times. 

There can be days and weeks and months and seasons where the nourishment we need to keep going seems distant, perhaps even impossible. 

The hopelessness and hardship and heaviness of reality can make mirages of the things off in the distance that we are searching for or what we thought was or what we had been working towards. 

There are times where we can begin to feel stuck and stagnant and incapable in our lives. 

But through all these difficulties, little pieces of potential have a habit of nestling themselves into the barren places of our given situations. 

The ghost of the wind embraces the emptiness of Death Valley. And with its invisibility comes the manifestation of tiny pieces of the physical world.


The beginning stage of a wildflower’s life distributed across soil often unfit for sustainability. 

But there nonetheless. 

Waiting through the heat and unending days where potential seems impossible. 

Throughout our hardship - the days where we are surrounded by bad news and failure and disappointment - there’s always something sliding itself into the reality of what we face.

Little pieces of insight and lessons. 

Seeds of the wisdom to come.

Invisible without patience - but being distributed by an insistence, that, like the wind, we can’t see but is always moving and spreading seeds of what will grow in time. 

A little known fact about Death Valley is something called the “Super Bloom.” 

Every ten years or so, this place of unending brown becomes clothed in vibrant colors. 

The rarity of rain seeps itself into the hard ground, paving the way for life to spring forth. And what was once a vast nothingness, turns into a canvas of all that had been waiting to be seen for some ten odd years. All this occurring through the process of taking the time to give the nourishment to those seeds that had been hiding in the cracks through the unending hot days. 

When things are difficult… when life gets hard…. when death seems to be all we know… 

There are seeds being dispersed. 

Pockets of potential that might not sprout right away. But what eventually become the colors representing all that we’ve learned and all that the hard days have taught us. 

Difficulty is not something that we can have a prescription made in order to escape from it. It’s a journey through the often frustrating process of experience. But through all experience there comes wisdom. Always being distributed, even if we don’t see it at the time.

And just as the wind distributes seeds even on the hottest days, so too does wisdom distribute itself through our experience - even, and perhaps most notably, on our hardest days. And in due time those days are the ones we often grow most from. The life lessons learned become a part of the beautiful canvas that is the independent experience of our lives. 

We see the wildflowers as beautiful because of the stagnancy they take the place of. Hard times are never something to be made light of because of what is coming. The hardship is real. It stings. It hurts.

But through it all there are seeds.  

The Hebrew people had one word to describe both wind and spirit. To them, the Divine was something always on the move. Distributing its lessons and love and hope anywhere and at anytime. Even if on some days it was to varying degrees. 

The wind is spreading seeds in Death Valley.

Spirit is spreading seeds in our lives.

Sometimes a seed has to wait a while to receive the water that will turn it into the wildflower it will eventually become. 

But even the driest place in the world gets rain sometimes.

Nestled in the salty sand

disdained dust

Death Valleys seeds sleep as if night

is all that they know


Sight unseen

is life to them

To us

such barrenness


Sleep calls for rising

and also life

If in three days

or once every ten years

New stories always end up being written


And waking slowly

cracking the cases containing potential

Now ready

slithers seed to the surface


And one by one the flowers


Now even the home of death

has life


And so too here

With eyes for the "Unseen" 

Now being made Seen



Stones and curtains

rolled away and split

Illuminating now all that ever was

in the new light of what it truly Is

once we allow the seed to crack. 

Image from Mark Cooper via Flikr found  here

Image from Mark Cooper via Flikr found here

Fireflies and God and Seeing.

Fireflies and God and Seeing.

Dirt Part 3: Becoming Gardeners (Again)

Dirt Part 3: Becoming Gardeners (Again)