Baptismo Sum In this month of dehydration, we keep our eyes skyward, both to watch for rain and to avoid the scorn of the scorched succulents who reproach us silently, saying, "You promised to care." And so, although we thought we could stick these seedlings in the ground and leave them to their own devices, we haul hoses and buckets of water to the outer edges of the yard where the hose will not reach. The idea of a desert seduces, as it did the Desert Fathers, who fled the corruption of the cities to contemplate theology surrounded by sand and stinging winds. My thoughts travel to the Sanctuary Movement, contemporary Christians who risked all to rescue illegal aliens. I admire their faith, tested in that desert crucible. I could create my own patch of desert in tribute. Yet deserts do not always sanctify. I think of the Atomic Fathers who hauled equipment into the New Mexico desert and littered the landscape with fallout which litters our lives, a new religion, generations transformed in the light of the Trinity test site. I back away from my Darwinian, desert dreams. The three most popular religions in the world emerged from their dry desert roots, preaching the literal and symbolic primacy of water, leaving the arid ranges behind as they flowed toward temperance. I cannot reject the religion of my ancestors, who spent every day of their lives remembering their baptism before heading to the fields to make the dirt dream in colors.
Kristin Berkey-Abbott teaches English and creative writing at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in Florida.
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|Date:||Aug 1, 2005|
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