Earth Etude for Elul 13: Crater Lake

by Rabbi Shira Shazeer

Many months after the world changed

After worry, adjustment, connections lost and found

Relearning how to live

How to work

How to family

How to community


After holding on

Holding together

Holding, holding,


I took to the open road

Family in tow

To see the land and the wonder it holds


To reach out

and in

and rediscover

Who am I

Wherever I am

In this world


I am no Thoreau

Not Diana of the Dunes

Alone with the world

In quiet contemplation

Rugged self sufficiency

Blissful isolation


I sought the beauty and peace of the world

With a soundtrack of the sounds of children

Filled with wonder, with hunger, with blisters

With games, with worries, with joy

With singing, with arguing, with whistling


And nature teemed with humanity

With so many people

All searching for peace and awe

All in need of relief

Of renewal

Of wonder

All seeking something

Beyond home, mask, screen


One cool afternoon

From a parking lot, slowly emptying

We crossed the road and descended

Sometimes it is necessary to descend

Before we can rise.


From the rim of an ancient volcano

Into the crater

Trees hanging on

To the steep incline of rock and soil



To the lake

The water clear





Humanity had come here



To love, and nurture

To feel the power

Of this pristine place


We arrived late

The throngs gone for the day

Or leaving as we came


At the top of a mountain

In the crater of a volcano

In the deepest, clearest, bluest lake


I immersed body

and soul


The cold and wet


Spreading through my tired limbs

and spiritual hiding places


Soothing the pain and tension

that build up there

when I am too busy to notice





Living Water


The world spins on


And unchanging

I am ready to return



Rabbi Shira Shazeer spent this summer traveling and blogging on Shlepn Nakhes, the Great American Pandemic Road Trip with her husband and three children. She studied in the Scholars Circle at Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, received rabbinic ordination from Hebrew College in 2010, and looks forward to completing an additional masters in Jewish Education, with a focus on special education, in the coming year.  After many years serving as school rabbi of a small Jewish day school, Rabbi Shazeer is looking forward to new professional adventures teaching in the learning center at Gann Academy starting this fall.

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