Digging Out

San Lorenzo Canyon is a place of wonder near Socorro, New Mexico. The geology varies from sedimentary to igneous, from alluvial to limestone. Desert wildflowers are abundant this year with prickly pear blazing in orange/yellow hues. Apache plume is blooming and pluming; white blossoms floating amidst feathery wisps of seeds.

Signs of a recent flash flood hang high in cottonwood trees like twisted mats of poorly woven cloth made of twigs and leaves. A final trickle of moisture pours over a stone shelf like a micro-waterfall and a rivulet continues to meander along the canyon floor before disappearing into porous sands. Green algae snakes along the narrow waterway until it loses moisture, dries to a tea-like powder, and blows away in the stiff afternoon breeze.

In the middle of this wonder, near the access to the canyon trail, a man and woman are stranded. Their truck has high-centered in the soft gravel; rear tires buried deep from spinning without traction. We offer to help and spend two nearly two hours digging while placing pieces of old carpet and rocks beneath the tires. After three attempts, the couple is free to continue their adventure. The woman weeps with gratitude.

Bodhicitta manifests in simple ways. It does not need to be profound. We help where we are able and offer prayers where we are not. After all, everyone needs to dig out sometime. We often get mired in our thoughts and lose traction—we do not see a way out. The Dharma offers a loving hand without judgment. Our only responsibility to gracefully receive the help and apply the the lessons to help others. Maybe we stop spinning our wheels and become more skillful. Maybe we do not get stuck in the first place!

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