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The view from this bluff above the creek bed looks down on a most unusual sight. The sheer creek bank contains a large patch of red clay. Normally our soil is a sandy consistency and chocolate brown color. The dirt in the fields and flower beds is brown, and the dirt all along the edge of the creek bank is brown, except right here.

The old well log from our water well not a quarter mile from this spot details the composition of each layer of the subsurface down to 538 feet. Not one layer shows red clay. It is peculiar how this deposit shows up right at the bend in the creek and nowhere else on the property that we know of.

I don’t have a good enough grasp of the geologic processes to explain how depositional layers can contain patches of substances not found nearby, but I looked at a soil map for our state.

What I noticed is that different soil types occur in swaths, like a patchwork quilt over the earth’s surface. Our geologic formation, the Edwards Plateau, is close to some areas with red clay soils.

Somehow the soil migrated, possibly carried by the water in the creek bed, since it is deposited at a bend in the bank. I now have this startling red clay area, a spot of yang in the yin of the cool brown of the remainder of the creek bed.

The surprise of this little bit of one thing in the middle of the other thing reminds me how organic things are not uniform. They do not consist all of one thing and nothing else.

We may be mostly nice, but sometimes spiteful. We may usually like to relax, but sometimes work really hard. Our life may be mostly joyful, with some deep sorrow right there where the path turns. The lack of uniformity in our character, in our environment, and in our experiences adds interest and variety. It makes hard times more bearable.

Today may be a hard day. You might have a scary confrontation with your mortality or may mourn the diminishment of your youth and beauty. Amid those hard things, may you find a surprising splotch of joy, like the hand of someone who loves you holding yours through the hard parts.

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