Medicine Lake

Once a year, I camp by myself. While some may find this odd or unsafe, I find this a tremendously renewing experience, ‘medicinal’, and this year was no exception. No distractions, a tech fast; just me and the spirits and the Land. I was at Medicine Lake, a remote lake, only reached by dirt roads, that lies on an old shield volcano in the rain shadow east of Mt. Shasta. The first day the air was smoky with the smoke of fires far to the east near Mt. Lassen (which had already been put out). The following day it was very windy, and the sky was blue and the night spectacular with stars. The lake is a surprise to come upon in this country and lies within an ancient caldera. It’s pretty high up and cold at night and surrounded by a lodgepole pine forest. It’s a rawly beautiful place, and unsurprisingly is a sacred place for indigenous peoples of the region.

I prayed with good fires, contemplated parts of my life, got an important insight, and took in a wide array of other presences, including a very audacious stellar jay visitor. There is also a very small lake called Little Medicine Lake, which was a perfect pale for doing some Brigid devotion. At sunset it lit up with reflected light: the wind rippled the fire in the water, and it shone like an iridescent mantle. A fine echtra , all in all.




fine sand blows

deep waters conceal and lap

at pine rimmed cauldron

traces of fire show in ancient rock

a small frog scurries from my steps

—Medicine Lake, August 25, 2012







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