Washoe Lake

Washoe Lake is the largest I can remember seeing it. The Washoe Lake is a Nevadan lake, in the Washoe Valley, three miles north of Carson City and twenty miles south of Reno. I see it daily. I drive past it on my way to work in Reno and on my way home in Carson City. This winter has been the wettest in recent memory, feeding the lake in ways I forgot it could. It’s unnerving to see Washoe Lake look like a lake. For years, I’ve always felt the term, ‘lake’, was to strong a name for this body of water. Most years I can wade through the deepest portions of “the lake” without wetting my hair. In a drought, there are times I can walk through it without muddying my shoes. A barren and dry flat.

Northern Nevada has been in a drought for six years.

In those years I had I hated my work, feared my future, and shunned myself for my own perceived sloth. I worked as an engineer and I would spend my time staring at a computer, wishing I could be anywhere else, daydreaming instead of working. Continuing the job presented two equally terrifying options. The first was termination for not completing my work. The second was staying at the job but spending my life hating what I did. What hurt the most was that I knew if I could just quit daydreaming and work all my problems could be solved. If only I could focus. I couldn’t. I knew I had ADHD and it caused me issues earlier in my past. At work I felt the need to overcome my condition. I quit my Adderal prescription because I was an adult. So I struggled and I failed I then quit to try new jobs. and I failed. I reached a low. I felt as empty and desolate as Washoe Lake.

Washoe Lake wasn’t filled in a day or a season.

The lake’s volume isn’t the result of a single event, It is the result of a steady accumulation of rain and snow. Two winters ago provided decent water to the Washoe Valley, not enough to end the drought. But just enough to keep the lake from drying out. Then came this winter. The wettest winter I can remember. 53′ of snow in the mountains. multiple downpours of rain or snow in the valley. tremendous amounts. Water fell and flowed into the lake. The Lake now sits and swells besides the highway I drive on. It threatens to consume the lake if it gets any bigger. Future forecasts predict it will get bigger, though there is no threat of engulfing the high way.

It’s beautiful to see the lake fulfill its potential

The lake reminds me of my own joy. In the last year I have sought help through a therapist, returning to Adderal and beginning a job I love. I was able to understand where my frustrations and fears came from. I was able to again focus on my present. and I now work as a Substitute Teacher. I feel that I am in an environment I can thrive in. I drive past Washoe Lake and marvel at its beauty, reminded that a dry field can easily become a magnificent lake.

I then think about how one bad drought will empty Washoe.

Washoe Lake is a “temporary lake”, or a lake that naturally forms and disappears resulting on precipitation. I know the lake has been this full before and I know that the lake has been barren many times before last drought. This fact creeps in my head when I gaze at Washoe Lake. Reminding me that its beauty is temporary. The intrusive thought diminishes my enjoyment.

It is the same with my life.

My happiness is always invaded with doubt. “What will I do when I get bored?” “You will quit like you have everything else.” “Don’t enjoy what you’re doing. It will be taken away.” I try to ignore these thoughts, but they always return. I don’t think I will ever be completely without doubt.

My life, like Washoe Lake, will have emptiness and abundance. When I’m empty I need to know I will fill again. When I am full I need to enjoy it.

Thanks for reading


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