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The Richest of Fare: Seeking Spiritual Security In The Sonoran Desert    by Phyllis Strupp order for
Richest of Fare
by Phyllis Strupp
Order:  USA  Can
Sonoran Cross Press, 2004 (2004)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

'Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters ... listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.' (Isaiah 55:1-2)

Phyllis Strupp transports readers on a mindful, moving journey that combines the 'vastness of the universe', lovingly written prose and verse, color photos of the Sonoran Desert, and nature's gifts. The author's heart-warming descriptions (both thought provoking and soothing) are enhanced by quotations from the Bible, from philosopher St. Francis of Assisi, poets Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman, authors H. G. Wells, Charles Dickens and William James, and scientist Einstein whose 'inspiration came through dreams, visions and intuition, not divine dictation'.

The Richest of Fare offers an aesthetic appreciation of the Sonoran Desert, 'a feast for the eyes, the heart, and soul.' The desert's name is derived from the Spanish word Sonora meaning 'sonorous', connected to the explorers' discovery of the area's abundance of iron ore, used for the manufacture of bells. The 120,000 square miles of desert crosses Arizona, California and Mexico. Deserts around the world have played a role in many lives, from nomads to Moses and Jesus. Strupp invites readers to walk with her through lessons that range from astronomy, evolution and wildlife to history and science, and to contemplate 'a connection with creation ... (your) place in the pattern of life.'

In Strupp's words 'the kingdom of God is 'at hand' ... it cannot be observed with the five senses - it can only be felt with the heart.' Strupp reflects on peaceful scenery, inhabited by adventurous desert critters (bobcats, coyotes, rabbits, hummingbirds, desert rats), along with the effects of monsoons, including a soothing smell after hard rain. Strupp speaks of 'the silent majority that rules the Desert - the mountains and the rocks'. She describes the inhabitants' and tourists' favorite, Black Mountain, which at thirteen million years old is still considered young (the Sonoran Desert itself is eight million years young).

This is a book that prompts readers to linger on each page and thought, from preface to epilogue ... and to return again and again. I recommend it to all ages, young and younger, and invite teachers and parents to share time with children, perusing this splendid book together. Experience the wonder of flickering stars in multi-colored hues, the antics of desert wildlife, the changing seasons and colors of the sky from dawn to twilight. Tenderly the author says, 'Every now and then, a shooting star whizzes by as if God had just winked at you.' What a sensual and visual delight!

I will never again think of the desert as barren, dried flora, and sand. Without a doubt, The Richest of Fare is one of the most inspiring, delicious books I have read, one that would be easy to share but difficult to part with.

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