Winds of Change

The lake’s mood is quite blustery today. The wind sweeps her hand over the surface, sending waves of silvery ripples across the deep blue that makes Crater Lake famous. Bands of bright water shimmer as breezes intensify and wane in alternating breaths. I have to bundle up to avoid the same cold waves penetrating the surface of my skin.

After five decades of visiting this national park, I have never seen the same lake twice. Most people only see one of her moods, get selfies and t-shirts, and never visit again. They do not really get know the caldera or understand how nature teaches through long term and surprise—the fundamental fact that all things change over time. Our buddhamind is revealed though our ability to see the long view and accept impermanence.

Not only acceptance, but joyful awareness. We have the capacity to see beauty in everything as it changes. Only the ego resists the natural ebb and flow of experience. This resistance creates a kind of myopia through which we only see things from a short term view. It is like we no longer see beyond the reach of our eye to cell phone. The other day I was almost hit by a cyclist who was engaged on his device.

We plow through life without seeing beyond our little insulated sphere. When impermanence strikes, we are left bereft and suffer the consequences of our myopia. It is better to look at the world as if we are rocks—eroded by time and the elements. A rock knows time beyond millions of our life spans. The Crater Lake caldera hosts a beautiful lake made possible by the collapse of a huge mountain during a fiery cataclysm a ‘short’ 7,700 years ago. Selfies and t-shirts do not tell that story—but you can feel it in the wind.                  

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