Bear Lake in Estes Park signifies for me an older brother
who knows my childlike excursions into nature. I grow distant
from him though because as I grow older I do not immerse
myself in nature like the young child. Now I am at the shores
of Brother Bear Lake with family Mom, Dad, Aaron, Brita.
This is a photograph from the Beyerlein family albums.
It is cold but not so cold that I have to wear gloves.
There is snow but not so little snow that it does not cling
to the split-rail fence on which I am leaning. We resume
our trek into Rocky. We are traveling by snowshoe.
The second lake is not my brother. It is life itself.
The Beyerlein men stand here on its shores. They have no plan,
only to begin walking across it. We are halfway across,
but it might be that we are only half of the first halfway across.
It is cold. It is cold enough that being tired will make one colder.
I am also scared. If the Beyerlein men do succeed in crossing
this lake, then they will be greater than any notion I have now
of the three of us. This future photograph is greater than any
heartbeats that have beat in my heart. I find myself taking smaller
and smaller steps in my snowshoes. Now if I had pictured a mirror
at this time instead of a heart, then I might be less trapped
in paradox. Bear Lake is a lake of the past, present, and future.
I take my excellent rest by its shores. Bear Lake is one of the order
of lakes that I have enjoyed. The fact is that there are lakes above
Bear Lake. We encounter the lake of the next order; I fear for time.
The greatest photograph I will ever take is within me. It is a direct
link between life and older brother. In fact, life is older, older brother.
When one looks in a mirror, they see a surface in perspective that is
one order less than the person observing. It is conceivable that I
stand on the far shore of life. It is also concievable that this is only
my reflection, and I am standing on the far shore of life that is next
in a sequence. Older brother talks about this. I have evidence of this
because the reflection I see in Bear Lake is nothing but our family
gathered at the lake in the vicinity of the trailhead.
If I were to go further back in the day, then the reflection I see
in the lake at the vicinity of the trailhead is nothing but the reflection
of my family gathered at the lake in the vicinity of the cabin where
we are staying this week. Now the fact that I cannot see my reflection
while standing on the lake of life is due to nothing but fear. If I had
visited my photograph at Bear Lake of two hours ago, then my fears
would have been allayed on the higher lake of life. I take this picture
out of a book where I keep it for safekeeping while the Beyerlein men
are crossing the lake, but this is nothing to me. The Bear Lake picture
of two hours ago does not exist in any family albums. Let's say that I
did take the picture with an actual camera, and it does exist.
It is still nothing to me that I take it out of a book where I keep it
for safekeeping. The camera is only a pump with pipes out of and into
which flow light. It is only a mere pump in a great factory of fear.
The message I know in my heart is that time is getting briefer
and briefer. It is a mere pump in a factory so great that it might have
been created by God. With fear there is no way to establish a mirror.
We know that if I had seen in the snow something like the first snow
of a child's winter or if I had seen in the sky something like the one
bird that is always the one that alights on my shoulder, then I would
be without fear. I would be able to establish a mirror. So is this not
also a contradiction. I had been of the opinion that to cross the lake
I must become older and stronger. Now we see that if I had seen
either the snow or the sky with the eyes of a child, then I might be
writing this on the far shore of the lake of life. It is neither reason
or feeling but a certainty that the heart of my child is greater than
the heart which beats within me today. Older brother talks about this.
It is almost beyond question that on the return trip we go back
to Bear Lake, back to the lake in the vicinity of the trailhead,
and back to the lake in the vicinity of the cabin where we are
staying this week. But is this not also true. I mean to say that at
the end of the day we will have found our cabin where we had
breakfast this morning. Dad, Mom, Aaron, Brita, and I will be
here this evening. We are observing from a lake that is higher
than any actual lake we stopped at today.