As I walked across the mottled clay tiles of the Alvord Desert, I was struck by the impermanence of everything. Thousands of years ago, the ground beneath me was submerged in two hundred feet of water. Geological change caused the then-lake to burst forth from its confines and fill rivers to the south. Today, the 140 square mile "playa" is dry half the year. During the season of my visit - when most of the five inches of average annual precipitation falls on the desert - water crept across the landscape like a mirage from the northeast. I stood alongside it and watched as it bubbled closer and closer to my feet. Slowly. Surely. In the words of the Buddha, Everything vanishes.
I’ve been thinking a lot about noise lately. My upstairs neighbors are obnoxiously loud, to the point that I sometimes have to wear earplugs to get any peace and quiet in my own house. Traffic is loud, both outside my window and in the busyness of trying to get around in it. And there are just so many of us living in what feels like a smaller and smaller world that sometimes I feel like I’m crashing into people all over the place. And I hear clamor.