Why live in a desert?

Given the amount of time that plants have been present on earth, spreading and adapting and such, plant life is found almost anywhere with exposed ground. A desert is no exception, but has some unique traits that make plant life interesting. Due to the nature of a desert, any plants that live in one are forced to survive for days, weeks, or even months without a source of water. During summer months, the days offer little more than a blazing sun, an empty blue sky, and unforgiving dry heat. Yet, despite this, many species of plants litter desert landscapes, as if proud to call it their home. There is something incredibly admirable in the way these plants thrive under the difficult conditions that are beyond their control.

The Living and the Dead

Once, while hiking on a desert mountain, a friend of mine came across two plants of the same species, one beside the other. They were similar in size, but one was green and healthy while the other was dry and desolate. My friend caught a picture of these two plants, and sent me a printed copy. On the back, she wrote:

Both of these plants were susceptible to the challenges of living in a desert, but one chose to thrive and the other did not.

Although it is entirely possible that other factors were ultimately the demise of the second plant, the message is an intriguing thought. Not unlike these two desert plants, we as people are also born into circumstances beyond our control. And in our infertile soil, when the long droughts come with the endless blistering sun, we can make a choice. We can thrive or we can wither away.

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