Walking to NOW

Cool but sunny. Time for a walk. The trail is firm, not gushy like you might suspect after the recent rains. Time to clear the head, let the crisp breeze clean out the cobwebs that get woven each day by the myriad thoughts that constantly buzz back and forth through the brain. The trail meanders through the woods, along the park, and frequently touches the creek now swollen slightly.

It’s a pleasant time to walk along the creek. Actually, there is never an unpleasant time to walk near the water. There is a magic woven by the moving water as it caresses the banks and soothes the rocks over which it flows. Today, however, is exceptional because the rains have fed enough water into the flow so that today it is not babbling. It’s not really roaring, but somewhere in between it sings a song that one doesn’t hear very often. And the look it gives you is of smooth curving glass over the rocks and curling to white foam as it falls.

I am reminded of the saying, “You can never step into the same river twice.”. Moving water exemplifies that saying. The water in this creek will soon join other water in the nearby river. That water will move on to the Mississippi which will then join the Gulf of Mexico. And by chance some of that same water that I am watching will evaporate and be carried by a southerly breeze to fall as rain once again on the land that feeds this creek. But not likely.

And another old saying, “Change is the only constant,” also comes to mind. Funny how the cadence of my steps on this walk allow my mind to wander into all sorts of arenas. The water of this moment is the only water I have to contemplate. I can remember former water in the stream, but I can’t experience it in the same way as I can this water, this day, this moment. I can anticipate future walks along the creek and feel good about the possible good thoughts I will have while walking, but until I actually do it, it is only an anticipation.

No, the only reality I have is this moment. As I get older, as I age, as I gain the perspective of living more years, I realize that more and more. Though I always think there will be another day, though I think I will live forever, though I age more slowly because of health practices, I know deep down that there will eventually be an end of this particular molecular existence. It’s like being a crash test dummy and knowing there is a wall at the end of the runway.

But rather than making me more fearful of the crash, it’s made me more aware of the view along the way. It’s made me more excited each morning to make sure that this day I milk it for all it’s worth. I look at that image in the mirror each morning and smile and resolve to live this day, to be happy this day. I choose to be an early explorer and sail my ship to the edge of the world, ever watchful for the wonders that appear. I choose to be an astronaut and fly to planets and across the Universe, and soak up everything that touches me.

Or I choose to take a walk along the trail along the stream and let the wind cleanse the cobwebs and the sound of the water soothe my spirit. I think it’s a win/win situation, this moment, and forever is really just a large collection of NOWs.

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