Cracks of Awareness
The current flooding on the other side of the mountains is due to an “atmospheric river” comprised of one wet storm after another. It is also unseasonably warm, so the snow that fell last week has all but melted in the high country. On this side of the mountains, we have experienced very little moisture because the “rain shadow” effect is in full force. High peaks of the Cascade Range are blocking the weather coming in from the ocean.
It was not always this way. Seven million years ago or so, before the Cascades rose into the sky, eastern Oregon was an oasis. Vast inland lakes surrounded by tall palms (yes, palms) hosted a completely different variety of life forms. Much later in geological time volcanic activity created a towering mountain range that shut off the faucet coming in from the ocean. Seasonal moisture dropped precipitously and the land began its reformation into a grassland—then desert.
So here we are in the middle of an atmospheric river event and we in eastern Oregon are receiving only a trickle. It is an amazing phenomenon. I wonder about geological change and its effect on weather. One would think all humans would ponder this. But our view is so myopic it blinds us from recognizing the living, breathing planet we inhabit. The earth breathes though major change and does not really care about us.
I imagine Buddha’s mind when he realized the law of impermanence. Maybe he saw mountains and weather over millennia and laughed at the strange things humans do to avoid thinking about it. A lifespan is so short compared to the vast timeline of geological change. But someone has to live during an eruption. A town in Iceland is now evacuated because of an imminent cataclysm. Cracks have opened up in the middle of streets, fracturing pipes and other infrastructure below.
And while this is happening, humans on another part of the planet are opening cracks in streets on purpose. Bombs are raining down in Gaza and Ukraine, Israel and Russia, causing immense suffering. If we want make cracks on purpose, it is better to crack open our hardened hearts and release the compassion hidden there.
The silence roared
I stumbled back
I heard my varnished ego