Milestones

Early on the future seemed eternal.  Summers held the world in endless, sun drenched glory.  Possibilities fell like autumn leaves on a windy day, dancing and beckoning in the brilliant blue sky.  Winter came on like a white Christmas coupled with anticipation of the new year to come.  We were forever young.  Untouchable. Unbreakable.

Along the way we unknowingly passed a milestone.  It laid at the side of the path covered in moss and shrouded in vines.  Something had changed, not for better or worse, but for the fact that life can be no other way.  The time had come to leave the world of endless summers behind, whether reluctantly, or otherwise.  

With each milestone passed, the world has changed little, yet looks very different as we ramble on.  The paths we walk began from an infinite number of starting points and scatter hither and yon on the wind of randomness.  Free will plays its part, but is no match for the unseen forces that command the unexpected taking of one path over another.

With many mile markers behind us we may now find the same autumn leaves to be the clear and present harbinger of coming winter.  Each year has it’s four seasons and they are not shy about the play they are acting in honor of the cycle of life.  As we journey from year to year that cycle becomes ever clearer in our own reflections.  

Milestones passed mean we leave some things behind, and if we are lucky, take new treasures with us.  Though some would beg to differ, there is no more true beauty in youth than in old age; for not all that is beautiful manifests in a looking glass.  In passing the stones, walking the road, we make trades of old thoughts that no longer serve us for new ones we can carry as a guiding light.  A light that becomes ever more comforting as true winter approaches.  We have no choice but to continue the journey.  Knowing the way is not an option.  Knowing ourselves is.

In The Blink Of An Eye

Jackson Hussey 6th grade Trampoline

Now you see me, now you don’t.  

Yesterday I walked into my first day of kindergarten. I blinked and had a bachelors degree. A few days later I held my ten-minute old baby boy, I blinked and he’s gone to college. We all feel it, the Einsteinian vortex that turns days into years, then decades into nanoseconds. All in the blink of an eye.

I am aware of the fact that I overuse the word ‘bittersweet,’ but I’ve not as yet found a more suitable way to describe this beautiful, sorrowful adventure. ‘Love’ is another word that some feel falls in the category of overused. I personally love the concept of the bittersweetness of life, so there.

In the presence of things we love we don’t want to blink. We don’t want to miss a moment. Then eyes shut tight when boredom, discord, or darkness flood our tiny worlds. So then it is the case that we choose to be open, to be present, or to blink, to escape. Hungry eyes open wide for the moments we cherish or crave, then clench to deflect pain or fear or push tears as they wash over us. Human nature, yes.

It’s easy to watch our loves grow up, not so to watch them grow weary and wither. Blink, and you’ll miss it, but what is it? The person you could have spent a mostly happy life with? Your children’s childhood or perhaps your own? The chance to create something beautiful that instead will never be? Adulthood takes on the quality of endlessness for a time, the perfect breeding ground for the cunning cancer of complacency. 

We cannot stop the ‘illusion of time,’ but we can choose to challenge its passage with vigilance. When the days grow short, and memory becomes our most precious holding; when we painstakingly replay the moments of our lives, will we rejoice in, or regret the choices we’ve made? How much will we have truly seen, known, or touched? How much will we have lost to the blink of an eye?

The More Things Same, the More They Stay the Change

The more things same web

Time is an illusion, or so say theoretical physicists, some Buddhists, and a few uncredentialed randos. Change, on the other hand, is palpable. On the cosmic continuum, our human lives are laughably short, unless of course one throws caring for a newborn baby into the mix at which point each moment takes on the guise of eternity.  

What to do with such a minuscule timeframe?  Establish an identity?  Wear it as a mantle, or suit of armor?  Perhaps.  On a more interesting tack, might we open our minds to the so-called illusion of time and embrace the challenge of change? 

That sound we hear at night when we cannot fall asleep, that jarring metaphorical thunder strike that suddenly and unexpectedly transgresses our imagined force field of normalcy, that ominous silence which becomes deafening during unwanted moments of solitude; that is the sound of inevitability.  It is the specter or the hope of change. It knocks at the door when we do not expect a visitor, or claws at the window on a stormy night as we toss and turn, tangled in our sweat-soaked sheets.  It is the ‘inescapable,’ taunting the prisoner.

Some folks make peace with change, even crave it. Others purposefully oppose it in archetypal ‘arch-rival’ fashion. One path leads to some manner of peace with what is going to be, the other leads to voluntary disappointment. Each is a fine perspective, though one opens new doors while the other bars them. Either way, the drama is short lived.

A dam with no floodgate cannot contain a relentless downpour forever.  So it is with the ‘illusory’ incubus we call ‘time.’  The waters will crest, the dam will fail, the future will wrench historical normalcy from the hands of every true believer and cleanse the land with the as yet unknown.  

Holding tight to the past, or even the present will give the illusion of effectiveness for a decade or two. ‘The more things same, the more they stay the change,’ but only for so long.  Nostalgia is bittersweet as is the inevitability of change, but only one of them is optional. Onward!

Namaste