The Dry Dusty (March 29)

The morning of March 29th began with a story…It was a story that started the day before, in Moab, when I had asked the Lord if He could show me some of His story there in the sandstone cliffs. At the end of our day there, I couldn’t say that I had necessarily heard anything, and I wondered if maybe I hadn’t been listening.

During our time in Moab, Asher had made a great find, spotting some opals among the red rocks, and I mentioned it to my mom that evening. Mom told me that she seemed to remember that there was something very special about the way that opals were formed, and I made a mental note to do a little research on that sometime.

That night, I had this funny image in my mind as I closed my eyes, not a clear picture like a dream, but kind of a dim and impressionistic half-dream…It was like the cliffs of Moab, with kind of a rising-and-falling motion moving through it, and there was something like the figure of a man for a moment, and then something like a large hand reaching out and touching the landscape. I told Joe about it at breakfast the next morning, because it was such a strange not-quite-a-dream image.

After breakfast, there was a table set up in the lobby selling local tribal-made jewelry. We browsed through, as I looked for something cute for Vivi, and Asher chatted with the artist about all the different gemstones. I picked out some barrettes for Vivi, and then I saw a pair of small opal earrings in a bright, fiery red, and decided to get those for myself. Which reminded me that I wanted to check on how opals were made.

Then we got ready to get on the road. We made a stop for a few groceries, and while Joe was inside, I did a little quick opal research…

And what I found was an article called “Creating Opals, Answers in Genesis.” It was about a scientist who had set out to study the process that forms opals in order to determine if it would fit into a Biblical timeline. Scientists basically agree on the process through which opals form. Lowering sea levels in a sandstone environment cause increasingly-acidic waters and create a certain chemical that reacts with the silicates and the sandstone to create opals. Most scientists also agree that this process takes ma-zillions of years, and was part of the very slow evolution of our earth. But this particular scientist succeeded in replicating the agreed-upon conditions, and created opals that were indistinguishable, even by electron microscope, from naturally occurring opals. His opals formed within a matter of months.

So, the formation fit into the Biblical timeline, but what was the event? Of course, there is one very specific Flood event in Biblical history, after which the waters receded, leaving us with the landscape as we know it today…The same red-rock, sandstone Moab landscape that I just wrote about, saying that it reminded me of an ocean floor that had been emptied.

The pieces clicked together in my brain, and I couldn’t believe it! Opals were formed during the great Flood! As the Lord placed a rainbow in the sky, He had also reached down and placed rainbows in the ground! And, He had unfolded a story written in the sandstone cliffs of Moab, just as I had asked! Wow.

Sooooo, we got back on the road again….We left Colorado and we entered New Mexico…And we drove through this…

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High winds, dust storms, tumbling tumbleweed, broad stretches of dust and sand and sandstone mesas, which I began to call The Dry Dusty.

It was a desolate landscape, wind scoured, with long stretches of nothingness dotted sporadically with trailer homes, singly or in groups, largely abandoned, and often partially disassembled by the harsh environment.

Along one stretch, volcanic rock jumbled up from the sand, the remnants of an eruption that has only been slightly gentled by the growth of desert grasses over the years.

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It was kind of a long day of driving, and kind of a tiring landscape, and to be honest, we’re beginning to think we don’t want to make any more stops, that maybe it will just be “next-stop-Mimi’s-house”!


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