Drought on the Severn

The Severn River has seen better days. Days when its waters roared downstream gathering debris in its wake. Tearing overhanging branches, stealing unsuspecting litter lying along the shoreline and tumbling boulders that lay embedded under the raging torrent. There was a time when white water raced along spraying up sheets of fine, cool mist. A time when the waters roared past so loudly that onlookers had to yell above the thundering river to be heard. A time when fishermen could be satisfied with a plentiful catch of Murray cod, yellow belly and brim. A time when tiny birds hovered in abundance catching flying insects that swarmed along the banks. And a time when the Severn pulsed with so much energy that it supported and nurtured a vast and varied assortment of flora and fauna. That was another time.

Not so today. Today all is still. Erringly quiet. Nothing moving. No sign of life. No indication of what once happened here. There is only a broad bed of boulders, strewn out, deposited randomly, and left to be bleached by the beating sun. The empty Severn is a cemetery full of memories and lives stolen by the grim reaper called ‘drought’.

Only the hardy and resilient can survive. Only the resourceful and adaptable will thrive. One must look intently to find what can grow here. Eyes spot something green. And something red. Something spiny, beautiful in its own unique way and embedded firmly between the weathered rocks. Little thistles, can resist the dry conditions and flourish in a most unexpected place. Where is the nourishment here? Deep, deep down under the rocks. Rocks, the lifeless element of the riverbed, become the source of life for the little red and green thistles that grow here. Something that has no life, offers life to another. Amazing.

Even when our circumstances seem hopeless, there is always the hope of regeneration and new life. Nothing is dead and forgotten. Something can still emerge that is strong, lasting and in its own way, beautiful. From hopeless conditions that feel like a suffocating blanket of drought spread out wide over the landscape of our life, conditions that resound of lifelessness, and echo distant memories of a better time, there is still the possibility that something good can emerge. Life that is lying dormant under the weighty rocks of our life can grow up into a healthy strong plant again.

Sometimes it takes the pain and pressure of a drought experience in our life, to witness the emergence of something good and beautiful. Resilience, adaptability, determination and courage are often only seen in the despairing seasons of our life. In the season of our dry times, when our circumstances look bleak and hopeless, consider what might be waiting to emerge and thrive.

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