Silence is meant to magnify life rather than diminish it – life makes noise!
Growing up in Oregon and hearing about breath-taking Crater Lake, but never visiting – I felt like I was missing something. As Margy and I planned a section of our sabbatical in Oregon, the thought of checking Crater Lake off my bucket list was exciting! The anticipation of seeing this 7th wonder of the world made the meandering roads bearable. Besides, we were in some of the most pristine wilderness in the country. We saw large reservoirs, huge trees, remote communities in the mountains and a variety of wild creatures… how could it get any better than that?
The anticipation was heightened as we passed the guard shack and began the final ascent to the fabled Crater Lake. Knowing that these roads were first cut when the machinery was primitive made me wonder about the people who thought it was even possible to build a road into this spectacular site. I was grateful we did not have a big pick-up with dual wheels because I was pretty sure one wheel would have hung over the edge of the precipice.
Before we even stopped to see the lake we paused to take in a panoramic view of the landscape, much of which has not changed since the mountain erupted centuries ago. The vegetation was sparse compared to the forests we passed on the way. When we finally made it to the top, I jumped out of the car to look over the ridge. There it was, this mysterious spot that I had longed to see for years. From the ridge of the volcanic rim, it was a breath-taking 2,000 feet down to the water below. We were also told that the lake itself was another 2,000 feet deep.
I took a myriad of pictures
I rushed from ridge to ridge taking a myriad of pictures. Getting back into the car we went from overlook to overlook each time adding to our collection of pictures. Then we went to the visitor center to buy a t-shirt. After making our purchase, Margy and I took one last view as the evening haze settled in over the lake. It was Margy’s question that seemed to solidify my thoughts. “Does this place feel kind of eerie to you?” Stunned by the abruptness of her comment, I looked at her and said, “that is exactly what I was thinking,” still unsure of why. After all, it was a 7th wonder of the world!
Then it hit both of us
Then it hit both of us… there was no wildlife anywhere to be found. No birds, no chipmunks, no squirrels… nothing. It was quiet, yet, eerie. Upon reflection, it was a lot like walking through the camp on the Sunday after all the summer staff goes home at the end of the summer. Instead of the happy sounds of campers, it is quiet, and almost feels wrong!
Sure, there are times when we all have too much of a good thing and silence is golden, but the reality is – life makes noise and that is a wonderful thing. It makes me wonder about the context of Psalm 46:10: Be still and know that I am God. It seems to me that God is saying, step back from the noise of life, recognize Me for Who I Am and then engage life to its fullest. In other words… let your life make “noise”- more specifically- a joyful noise!
Sabbatical Take-aways that Will Impact Your Campers this Summer (part four) was written by Ken Riley, Executive Director at Lake Ann Camp and Retreat Center.