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35 Responses

  1. Pam Kulwiec says:

    Oh Michael! This is so rich with wisdom and thought. Thank you. And I’ve added Crater Lake Nat’l Park to my bucket list

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you, Pam…you won’t be disappointed when you arrive.

  3. “You must look up to see them.
    If you do, the sight may cause you to drop your phone.

    …and maybe even pick up your sketchpad! =)

  4. Michael says:


    That is acceptable. 🙂

  5. Muff Potter says:

    Amen and amen Michael. I can remember Edward G. Robinson in the film Soylent Green breaking down in sobs to Charlton Heston and asking…”How did we come to this?”

  6. Michael says:


    This caused me to wonder the same thing…great reference, by the way. 🙂

  7. EricL says:

    Not such a new thing. As a teen in the 80s, I wasted precious time while visiting Yosemite because my brother-in-law needed help hauling his camcorder up the steep trails so that he could shoot video of the falls. That thing was a heavy, bulky burden.

    More recent: I live in a city pressed up against the mountains here in SoCal, so we get folks coming through town on their way up or back from various camps. I was in a local coffeehouse a few weeks ago when a group of teen girls came through. Obvious out-of-towners fresh from camp. They took tons of photos as they stood in line to order: of themselves, of the decor, and then of their coffees lined up on the table. Did they actually experience this local hang-out? Nope. They were gone as soon as they took the photos of their drinks, but they have wonderful shots of their non-experience at the place.

    Sometimes the technology creates a faux-reality that we like more than the real thing. Kind of sad, that.

  8. PP Vet says:

    “The tyranny of the supposed urgent and the addiction to the trivial”

    Nicely done.

  9. Sarah says:

    Wonderful article!!

    I find myself somewhere in between on the whole photo thing, though. Walking through the experience of dementia with my mother I have a deep fear of losing my memory. Her father had Alzheimer’s, her brother had dementia, her sister had an appalling Alzheimer’s/dementia that was hard to diagnose and began in her 50’s. The one remaining brother died of cancer that came on ferociously quickly after a lung transplant, but he was beginning to show the signs of memory issues.

    My fear has some basis.

    So, I take pictures with a need to remember, and a need to tell my children and my grandchildren who will come some day a story. I am crazy grateful for the ease of pictures with these phones, and yet…I know I get caught up in looking at a detail and missing so much.

    Sometimes I miss engaging because I am documenting.

    Thank you for this reminder…I need to not borrow worry.

  10. as a photographer & graphic artist I began practicing a quick burst of photos to capture my initial impressions, then take the camera or phone out of my hand and fold my arms and just BE in the moment, sometimes with those who are on the journey, sometimes walking away to enjoy the isolation and sensory input.

    Having a small sketchpad and whipping out a few sketches forces me to really SEE, to pay attention to the light, shadows and hues of the view before me.

    Thinking of the coffeeshop experience EricL mentioned, I’m a coffee officianado and love to check out indie shops. There’s always something unique, the decor, the art, the packaging of the items for sale. The sounds are much alike, espresso machines and indistinguishable conversations, and “drinking in” (pun intended) the scene is like visiting an urban cathedral of humanity having its’ caffeinated sacrament.

    There is awe and inspiration all around us, ready to be received from The Creator Who is always present

  11. Michael says:


    We need to do both…I obviously took a few pictures myself. 🙂
    You have real concerns about the future and these phones are tools from the hand of God to allay your worries and preserve a record of life to pass on.
    There is a point though were we must choose to set aside our grasping of a time and place and let it grasp us…that is when I hear God whisper to me.

  12. Michael says:

    EricL, G,…good words from you both.
    Thank you!

  13. I am slavishly connected to technology and am just now making all kinds of little adjustments. I am trying to put my phone away when at meals or with people. I am trying to leave my phone in another room when I have appointments

    It is an addiction plain and simple. Those of us addicted to other stuff recognize the rush.

  14. Michael says:


    It is an addiction.
    The reason they were so obsessed with getting a signal is that they has been without one for 40 miles…about an hour up the mountain.
    It damn near drove them mad.

  15. dusty says:

    Michael, I don’t think many understand that Crater Lake is a miracle in itself. A lake on the top of a mountain. Putting aside the absolute beauty of the Lake and surroundings…the fact that the water is not running down though cracks and crevasses making streams and rivers draining out every once in a while – til the next snow/rain fall…water being held on the top of a mountain….. Only the hand of God could do that…

  16. PP Vet says:

    Pretty brave words for a guy who runs a site that is an addiction in itself. 🙂

  17. Papias says:

    Good word Michael.

    I photograph mostly landscapes and wildlife – two different subjects entirely.

    With wildlife you need to know a little something about the subject before you try to find it. Once you’ve found it, you need to approach it gingerly. Move slow. Take a photo. Wait. Move slow – one step at a time. Take another shot. Wait. Repeat as necessary to get close enough to the subject without startling it.

    When I took the picture of the Snowy Owl on my blog I approached it this way, and worked out fine. Until someone walked up behind me with their gaggle of loud children and scared away the owl. Everyone else groaned and I was able to snap a few of the owl in flight. Once it was gone, I just glanced at the group and picked up my gear and went back to the car.

    With landscape photography… you need patience. A good camera will only get you so far. You need to do lots and lots of waiting for the light to change. That’s when its nice to just sit there and wait.

    Or find another hobby. 😉

  18. Donner says:

    Wow Michael, awesome word! Well written, cogent, insightful, impactful.

  19. Jim says:

    As long as I can continue to find batteries for my 2006 Motorola razr, I’m not participating. I’m weak-willed regarding tech, so abstinence is my solution.

    My adult kids are able to partake in moderation.

  20. Michael says:


    If one takes the time to learn all the things associated with Crater Lake, the wonder just increases.
    Twitter doesn’t do it justice…

  21. Michael says:

    Thank you, Donner. 🙂

  22. J.U. says:

    Perhaps it is because we beam the Nature Channel into our homes where it is displayed on 60-inch screens. Nothing amazes us any more, and we quickly turn to the most mundane of all experiences: chatting aimlessly, now-days aided by instant and mobile communications technology. Small talk in sight of large visions. Yet we continue the small talk.

    I think of a different time when these objects of nature and beauty were a little more unique to our everyday experience. Maybe this could apply to our modern religious experience too.

    I’m an avid reader. While visiting Carter Lake, I read all the signs explaining the wonders. What I most appreciated were the quotes from famous and not so famous people about the natural beauty of the hidden lake. I wrote them in my journal. (At that time in my life I was very heavy into journaling and diary entries.)

    Here are some from my journal that I dug out of the closet:

    Jack London, 1911 — “It is worth traveling hundreds of miles to see. I thought that I had gazed upon everything beautiful in nature as I have spent many years traveling thousands of miles to view the beauty spots of the earth, but I have reached the climax. Never again can I gaze upon the beauty spots of the earth and enjoy them as being the finest thing I have ever seen. Crater Lake is far above them all.”

    Zane Gray, 1911 — “I expected something remarkable, but was not prepared for a scene of such wonder and beauty….Nowhere else had I ever seen such a shade of blue…. How exquisite, rare, unreal!”

    Geologist Clarence Dutton, 1886 — “As the visitor reaches the brink of the cliff, he suddenly sees below him an expanse of ultramarine blue, of a richness and intensity which he has never seen before, and will not be likely to see again.”

    John Wesley Powell, 1888 — “The lake itself is a unique object, as much so as Niagara, and the effect which it produces upon the mind of the beholder is at once powerful and enduring. There are probably not many natural objects in the world which impress the average spectator with so deep a sense of the beauty and majesty of nature”

    Mark Daniels, General Superintendent of National Parks — “The sight of it fills one with more conflicting emotions than any other scene with which I am familiar. It is at once weird, fascinating, enchanting, repellent, of exquisite beauty and at times terrifying in its austere-dignity and oppressing stillness.”

    Here’s my favorite and much to the point of today’s blog:

    Ron Warfield, 1998 — “Hidden in its sublime setting until the final moment, Crater Lake bursts into one’s consciousness in full-blown glory upon first sight. Regardless of what people expect upon arrival at the rim of the caldera, they react in the same way. Thousands of well-traveled place-baggers stop in their tracks, cease their conversations about “more important stuff,” and just gape.”

    I don’t know who Ron Warfield was. I tried to google him, but names are often hard to find that way. Anyone know the sign at Crater Lake that has this quote?

  23. Michael says:


    I’ll look when I go back up in a week or so…those are great quotes.
    Daniels words reflect exactly how I still feel half a century after my first visit…

  24. Paige says:

    Wonderful article Michael, and oh so true….. While having the family over for dinner doesn’t appear to be as wondrous as Crater Lake (but it really is), it is equally sad when people at the same dinner table or on the same couch are staring at their phones instead of talking to each other…..

  25. Michael says:


    Well said!

  26. Ahh…but you forgot to mention that the Nike factory is not too far away from there…LOL!

  27. Michael says:

    davidsurfer 51,

    Nowhere near here…five hours and a whole world north…

  28. Michael,
    Around these here parts, 5 hours is nothing. You need a car if you live in southern CA.
    Nike…3615 Crater Lake Hwy, Medford, OR – 97504 – 9750 near Aero Way,lear Way.

  29. Michael says:


    I have no clue what you’re looking at …but Nike is in Portland, not Medford.
    I live here…

  30. Michael says:

    That’s actually Wal Marts address…

  31. sarahkwolfe says:

    I wish I had more time to dialog about this.

    I just met up with someone I had met online…through a closed group of people I have never met in person. She is coming down to attend Belmont University and is staying at a home of another couple from the same closed FB group. I took her to a coffee shop where they play bluegrass, and treat people like family. (she plays mandolin and guitar and these folks let you sit in). Then I loaded her up and took her home with me when I needed to pick a kid up and take him home to his family and she met another group of friends and ran around town with me. She’s going to church with us Sunday.

    I never would have known she had existed outside of Facebook interactions. A group of people who read books by authors we enjoy and Andrew Peterson’s music. Now we are all going to a conference he and his brother put together and this young girl has been taken in and being housed by a couple and run around town by me and cared for.

    Because of social media and a site I mainly use to show off pictures of my kids.

    There is use for it, and God amazes me sometimes in how He expands and creates in our midst. I didn’t get on my phone once, intentionally, while I was with her…except to call ahead when I was late to pick up the kiddo. I noticed she didn’t text either. We were present with each other and the music and the moment….and that was right.

    The place we were…no one was on their phones. They were playing music and laughing and engaged. There was balance.

    Life more and more is engaged by technology and there is so much good there…but as Paige said, we can be right next to each other and so completely distracted. Or your tourists who are unseeing…we have to be intentional. We have to be in command.

    Just thought I would share…was blessed by the evening, by the fruit of social media, and by the absence of it through the evening 😉 Oh…and the music was great and the weather was fine!!!

  32. Michael says:

    Sarah…great note to end the night on.
    Good stuff as always…

  33. Ixtlan says:

    five hours and world away. absolutely.

  34. Nonnie says:

    Last week I was at the beach in So. Calif. holding my 5 week old grand daughter. While the rest of the family was down, playing near the water, I sat on a bench holding the baby.
    The sand, the sea air and the crashing of the waves was so good for my soul…..yet even sweeter was the joy of holding that precious baby girl….I was embraced and being embraced by love and life, and my heart was filled with thanksgiving to the Lord. It was a holy moment.

  35. PP Vet says:

    Sounds like a wonderful grandma moment, N.

    I am at the hospital for what is starting to look like a false alarm on the arrival of our 1st grandson.

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