I got to visit a gorgeous place the other day, Crater Lake, Oregon. Sitting at 6500 feet, with a perimeter of 913 kilometers, it’s round basin is filled with Bodhisattva blue waters. Klamath Indians call it Mazama. According to their lore Mazama is where the spirits of the Earth and Sky often come to talk with the people. A place where the forces of the Below-World are imprisoned forever beneath the weight of the lake’s surface, and calmed by her tranquil waters. It has been and remains a favored spot for Vision Quests. Absorbing its transportive elegance, its easy to understand why.
Klamath oral tradition holds a memory of when and how it was created 7700 years ago after the volcano erupted, collapsed in on itself to create a perfect basin which, over the centuries, has captured and continues to hold only the purest waters. So pure that no bacteria grows in it even today. I’ve heard of and sometimes experienced various sorts of geological phenomena…earthquakes, eruptions, shifting sands..but a crater lake? New to me.
The geology of any one of our life paths is one lens through which to look back. We’ve all had tectonic plate shifts, tremors, mountain ranges of immeasurable beauty emerge unexpectedly, glaciers carve valleys both awe inspiring and austere. Looking at the lake I think maybe we get to experience crater lakes too. When something blows up to the point that it collapses in on itself and leaves a gaping hole in our lives. Looking at Mazama I could see that that doesn’t have to be the end of the story, of any story. That a cavity does not have to be without meaningful purpose. It can, over time, become a vessel of wisdom and make peaceful the Below World of our lives, be a place so pure no rancor grows but instead boasts wondrous, still beauty.
In meditation today, I was suspended somewhere in space. I could look up and feel a part of the stars. Looking to the east the regenerative dawn, the west the call of the frontier, south the encouraging warmth of the sun, north, the straight and narrow clarity of direction forward… forward momentum that beckoned. Looking down I could see all my tears have not been for naught for they’ve filled cavities, watered the good ground that in turn has translated them into new life. Nothing is wasted, everything matters because everything folds into itself to ultimately find purpose. Thank you Crater Lake. Thank you Mazama.