Be Here Now
Georgi blows on a dandelion flower and wishes for snow. She wishes for snow every single time even if we are in 90 degree Charleston weather. I would blame Disney's Frozen for instilling this wish in my child, except I vividly remember wishing with all my might for snow as a little girl long before Frozen came and reigned over childhood minds. Frozen or no Frozen there is something uniquely magical about a white wonderland. The snowflake itself is so intricate and delicate, and when millions congregate to form a blanket over the once ordinary, plain ground and trees they transform into something new and extraordinary.
Our family crossed over the California-Oregon border and bounded north through small town Grants Pass and over the Rogue River toward Crater Lake. Crater Lake is a caldera, meaning it was formed when the neighboring volcano, Mount Mazama, erupted and created a depression that filled with water. It is the ninth deepest lake in the world. Pretty cool right? As we headed up the mountain toward this world wonder we stopped at the visitor center to grab a map but we also discovered a junior ranger packet and a kid's volcano book. Not surprisingly, I remember very little about volcanoes from grade school so I think I enjoyed the volcano book more than Georgi.
Little patches of snow started appearing along the highway as we winded along the inclined road. The altitude was steadily going up and so were Georgi's hopes of snow. By the time we reached the lake it was a full-fledged, blindingly white mountain with a vibrant-blue lake in the center. We had entered real life Arendelle hidden away in the Oregon landscape and Georgi was ecstatic.
The rich blue of the lake was such an intense contrast to the white of the snow, creating a striking visual of the actual depth of the lake. It was incredible how calm and massive the lake was, yet despite the calmness you could imagine the violent earthly eruption that had to pioneer the way for tranquility to take hold. We can learn a lot from nature, sometimes we need to go through complete disruption of our core before happiness and beauty can take place in our lives.
We walked along the edge, taking in the sights in silence while Georgi and our dog, Luna, sunk deep into the snow. Georgi soon realized that immersing herself thigh-high in frigid snow wearing cotton leggings and throwing snowballs with bare hands is an enjoyable experience for approximately 2 seconds. Her smile and yelps of happiness about snow were short-lived and soon transitioned into cries and complaints of freezing hands and wet shoes. Can you tell we are from the south? Alex carried her into the lodge and we set out to find some hot chocolate, dry socks, and warm soup. When she had recovered we began working together on her junior ranger packet that was filled with little activities and questions about the park. When complete Georgi walked up to the park ranger and timidly handed over the packet. The ranger checked over her work and gave her a short speech about what it meant to be a good ranger. She told my little girl with wide, focused eyes that it was her responsibility as a ranger to tell others about the park so that others would get out and explore nature and take care of the earth. Then she pinned on a little plastic gold badge and said "you are now a junior ranger".
Georgi beamed for the rest of the day. She insisted on wearing her badge up until the unfortunate day when it was lost, never to be discovered despite her parents panicked, thorough searching. She might have lost the physical symbol of her junior ranger identification, but that hasn't stopped her from taking her job very seriously by picking up litter wherever we go.
We had finished our loop around Oregon passing through Bend, Salem, Deschutes National Park, and Willamette National Park and ending back in Portland. Alex went to snowboard Mount Hood with some friends while me and the girls shopped around the city and scarfed down some Portland doughnuts (another thing that the west-coasters have mastered). We cannot wait to go back to the Oregon Coast, Redwood Forest, and Crater Lake during the summer months, but we are so glad we had the whirlwind of Oregon adventure. While traveling I can easily get caught up in the excitement of going to new places and looking forward to the next destination, but this can make it difficult to live in the present moment. I have to make a conscious effort to stop, steady my thoughts, and just be here now. Sometimes, like Georgi, I find myself wishing with all my might for something new and exciting only to have my wish come true and find out that I was living the dream before.
"Be here now, no other place to be
All the doubts that linger, just set them free
And let good things happen
And let the future come into each moment
Like a rising sun."
Mason Jennings- Be Here Now