Each moment in our lives is followed by another. As we experience this succession of moments, we become accustomed to them. They begin to seem like one another, ordinary, commonplace, as if a moment the same as the last is always coming, rushing past like the vast number of droplets that make up a swiftly-flowing stream. All we recognize is the flow of the stream, carrying us past visions of landscapes lush with the growth of our own experience.
We sense the river, not the drops. We sense the unified whole, not the tiny parts that make it up. We sense our days, weeks, and months, not our moments.
That is, until we encounter a moment of disruption, when the stream seems to shift in its bed. And then we understand that this stream will not always exist as it has, that perhaps it might one day run out. And what then? What will we do when the stream of our moments dries up?
This shift makes clear both the grief that these moments will eventually end and the inconceivable wonder of all the moments that have happened before and all of the moments still to come. It makes clear the joy of the river itself, how it is made up of all these tiny droplets flowing over, under, and around each other, melding together to support us, carry us, hold us over rapids and waterfalls, through the bright sun and freezing rain.
And maybe we can sense that what may feel like the end of the river for us is, in fact, a change in its course, a new direction, a new way for the drops to flow down from the mountain to the sea. Maybe we can sense how our own limited moments connect us to the moments of others: our ancestors, our friends, our descendants — spiritual and biological.
In our best moments, we sense not the binary quality of drop or river, but the unified whole of drop and river, blending, bending, and unending.
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