Discovery: Uncovering Love

The Dry River snakes its way through Central Oregon for miles but very few humans visit much of its length. A small part of the river canyon is popular but most of the meandering ribbon remains invisible, merging seamlessly into the desert plain. One really needs a lot of motivation to discover the isolated places where subtle evidence of water flow peeks through the arid landscape.

I am hiking through one of those places and wonder how long ago this shallow canyon held a flowing river. It must have been hundreds of thousands of years in the past. But remnants of the erosive action still remain. I pass by a few stones still exhibiting surfaces worn smooth by the ancient river. Occasional deep pockets hold little ponds created by sparse desert rain. This water creates a micro environment hospitable to algae and insects.

Every one of these catch basins is a mini-oasis for local wildlife. Diverse tracks radiate out like spokes on a wheel with the watering hole acting as hub. It is amazing how a little moisture is detected by wildlife in hundreds of square miles of arid, sagebrush-dotted hills and plains. I am in awe of the resilient life forms populating these isolated places.

Of course, only a human who is used to more than adequate food, water, and shelter would call this desert canyon isolated. Based on the evidence left by numerous inhabitants, it must be a special environment. I just have to get down on my hands and knees to view the landscape from a rodent’s perspective. Or maybe badger eyes.

Discovery, uncovering, happens when I am willing to change my perspective and view things through the eyes of others. I place my filters on hold long enough to see something new, something fresh and unconditioned by memory and expectation. It stirs my heart. Buddha suggested this is the way we naturally see. If it were not for our insistence on separate existence—living in a little ego cocoon—we would get over our habits of mind and experience everything and everyone as emissaries of unconditional love.

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