Thunder rolls in the distance as the early storms of late Spring and early Summer pass through Appalachia. The smell of ozone mixed with humus fills the air and the birds come out of hiding to sing and catch the insects that hover over the puddles. Cathedral Falls is full and swollen as Cane Branch races into the river.
The parking is tight here so I carefully back the big blue truck into a slot and step out with my gear. As is my habit I ignore the cascade at first so that I can focus on the more subtle scene of the creek bed. I have always been fascinated by the flowing water. I become transfixed by the patterns of curls and swirls that form as the water meets obstructions in its path. I have mentioned before that as a kid I would toss leaves and sticks into the water and have “boat races” down the creek. The trick is to find just the right spot to toss it in so that it doesn’t hit a rock and be stuck or sucked under.
Normally, when we think of an image that has that “Zen quality” to it we think of still, flat water without a ripple or in the very least concentric rings emanating from a single point. The symbolism is that of order and control. But life isn’t really that tame. It’s wild and free like water flows from the mountains. Like the stream in the feature image life has complexity because it adapts. It’s flow isn’t complicated. It’s complex. Complicated makes me think more of a tangled set if problems where as complex makes me think of a set of adaptable solutions that behave in predictable ways.
The feature image also shows stationary points amid the flow. These represent anchor points in life. Things like our faith help us to to step outside of the flow to gain perspective and decide where to step back into the flow.
As my eyes move along the water back up to the cascade pick a few spots to be my anchor points and I realized that the perspective is the important difference between complicated and complex. Same current that threatens to sweep us away also carries us to the next anchor point.
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