This Cleft Rock Palette makes unlikely friends of orange, blue and green, balanced with a neutral tan. It all started from a small hike, and grew into some big thoughts.
Recently we’ve been doing a lot of walking and hiking in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. If you’re not from around here, the Sandia Mountains are part of the southern tip of the Rocky Mountains. Which means they’re very rocky.
My kids love to climb on top of all the boulders, and the dog likes to think he can keep up with them. (We usually end up carrying him most of the way home.)
The last time we were out hiking, I stumbled across this tiny pine tree sapling growing right out of a crack in a rock.
Of Rocks and Roots
As I contemplated this plucky little tree, a thought occurred to me. While a rock might seem like an inhospitable place to nurture a seed, a cleft in the rock offers just the right kind of protection that little seed needed to get started in life.
A little darkness, some accumulated dirt, maybe an occasional drop of dew or rain, and shelter from the winds. Sounds like the perfect environment for a fragile seed.
It just happens to take place inside a giant piece of granite that makes up a corner of a mountain.
I must admit, I really related to this little sapling. We are living in a time in history that feels like a very hard place. Like we are trying to find a bit of shelter on the granite face of a cold mountain. Some days it feels easier to give up than to put down roots and dig in.
But we are digging in. Every day we get up and try to make sense of what’s happening around us. We keep our kids grounded with half-hearted attempts at structure and some semblance of schooling. We brave the grocery stores for supplies that feel threatened. And we come home and wash our hands and get down to the business of putting down roots in our daily life, which is a gift in itself.
Someday this persistent little seed will probably grow to a full size pine tree and completely split this massive boulder into pieces. It will outgrow its early home and take root into the heart of the mountain itself, eventually providing shelter for the bits of broken stone left at its feet.
I’m sure there are some lessons in this cleft rock palette about persistence and rocks and hard places, but I’ll leave you to work those out. For me, the lesson from this hike was if you don’t watch where you’re stepping, you might miss the most beautiful view of the morning.
Rock of Ages
And finally, because everything reminds me of a song, I’ll leave you with a few of the lyrics to “Rock of Ages” (the ancient hymn, not the Def Leppard song).
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power.