Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

Creekside Cabin

Ripplewood, Big Sur River, California, USA

February 25, 2008

This essay, Creekside Cabin, is the fourth in a septology on Homes:
  1. In The Face Of Commitment
  2. Stellenberg Avenue
  3. Faery Cottage
  4. Creekside Cabin
  5. A House On Franklin Street
  6. Stripping It Down To The Studs
  7. The Amazing Cowboy Cottage
in that order.

It is also the third in a group of four written in Big Sur:
  1. Nepenthe
  2. Hello Henry Miller
  3. Stranger Out Of Time
  4. Creekside Cabin

It's absolutely no accident when they named this place, they put the Big  in Big Sur. Big Sur comes from the Spanish "El Sur Grande" (the big  south) or "El Pais Grande Del Sur" (the big  country of the south). That's what the locals called this unexplored wilderness area along the California coast south of Monterey and Carmel.

You don't merely see nature here. This is way  more than that. This is an encounter  with nature. No, it's way bigger than that even. This is a confront. Everywhere human beings love nature. In Big Sur we're confronted by it. We're awed  by it. You can't stop yourself.

Nature, by itself, doesn't cause transformation. Firstly, it can't. Secondly, if it did, that wouldn't be transformation. Nature, at best, can cause peak experiences. But it can allow  for transformation. And that's exactly what it does here - in spades. When you come here, there's an opportunity to be in a natural amphitheatre so huge, so vast it leaves you awed and breathless. Then, when you catch your breath again, you can step back and observe your experience of awe, distinct from the huge natural amphitheatre you're in awe of.

Distinguishing your experience of awe is an access to distinguishing who you really are. Distinguishing who you really are is an access to transformation. This is the way nature, even while not causing transformation, magnificently allows for it here: Big Sur, big  experience, big  transformation.

Photography by Sean Shadwell
Cabin #2, Ripplewood, Big Sur River, California, USA
I come to stay here in a creekside cabin to vacate, to retreat, to write Conversations For Transformation, to refuge, to look in silence newly at what's possible. The simple wood cabin, deep in the forest of massive towering redwoods, is cantilevered out over the rushing river.

I find myself asking the cabin  to grant its permission for me to come inside it. It does!  Then, once inside, I turn around to lock the door behind me and, catching myself in the middle of this illogically autonomic reaction based on fear, I burst out laughing and throw the key onto the bed, leaving the door unlocked.

It has everything I might need, and I don't need everything it has. There's a shower with hot water and clean towels, a dreamily comfortable bed, and a tiny kitchenette. It has a simple heater for cold nights, a small desk and a power outlet for my laptop computer. It has electric light but I prefer candles when I'm here. The windows have drapes but I want them open all the way, each window providing a vista of such splendor that I'm simply rooted, standing still in the middle of the floor staring out, mesmerized and immobile. I'd change all the wooden walls to glass, if I could, so the mighty forest could come inside with me.

There's no television, no telephone, no internet access in here. Aside from my laptop, there's no electronic or digital anything  here - just the bare essentials. And now that I'm here, who I am is both very bare  and very essential.

Outside the creek rushes and bubbles, chattering happily in a myriad of component sounds and splashes, rolling pebbles tinkling and clinking over themselves and around rocks. It's a loud sound, a dull roar, which at first distracts my concentration until I surrender to it, letting it be.

My thoughts are swept away by the torrent along with leaves, twigs, and foam over rapids and around eddies, on and on downstream. I let them go, and they're instantly engulfed by the urgent water symphony like scraps of paper in a wind. Without thoughts I'm left by myself  in the center of the sound of the gushing flow, in the deepest purest thickest silence. In these depths I'm home. I know it. My very being knows it. And I realize it's all I want to do to bring it forth and make it available in the world.

I stand at the window in privilege, looking out in awe, my hands resting on the sill, my head slightly bowed. This is profound gratitude. This is true prayer.

This is fuel for the future.

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