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Right View

Devil's Lake State Park, WI

Last Saturday was the last day a good friend of mine would be in town for what sounds like a long, long time. He's the kind of friend I could talk to for hours about anything and everything, so I did just that as we hiked 11.5 miles around Devil's Lake. This photo was taken from the east bluff looking west at the faraway trees on the other side of the lake. It's sort of an abstract photo that shows off a beautiful palette of spring colors as the leaves turn green again in Wisconsin.

We talked about history, we talked about linguistics, we talked about photography, we talked about artificial intelligence, we talked about long distance hiking, we talked about religion. All kinds of things.

So I can't say "I am a buddhist" with certainty, but a lot of its tenants sure pique my interest. My understanding is one of the parts of the eightfold path is "right view" (the title I gave this photo), where one seeks to gain the wisdom to see things "as they are" inside and outside of themselves via mindfulness and meditation. This largely includes seeing how suffering comes about and how to reduce it, which I thought was especially pertinent for this long, cold, windy, rainy hike. The root of suffering is attachment, Buddha says. The hike might have sounded uncomfortable, but we weren't attached to having a comfortable day. Instead we chose to see the day for what it was without judgement and lived in the moment, enjoyed the company and conversation, and chose not to perceive the conditions as the source of pain and suffering. The aching muscles and cold wet skin weren't a *bad* feeling, they were just *a* feeling. It's all about perception.

Then we ate cheeseburgers.

All in all it was a simple day of simple pleasures with a good friend that I won't soon forget. These are the kinds of days I want my life to be filled with. It was hard to say goodbye, but I look forward to saying hello again.

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