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QUINTESSENCE

Continuation

Old Trappers Cabin, Upper Priest Lake
It's today: all of yesterday dropped away
among the fingers of the light and the sleeping eyes.
Tomorrow will come on its green footsteps;
no one can stop the river of the dawn.

- from "Love Sonnet, XLIX," Pablo Neruda

One constant in the world is the measured, dispassionate passage of time. To the soldier, the performer or athlete, the passage of moments may condense into intense vibration: a harmonic in which the entirety of time, of focus and effort, seem to occur in a perpetual present. To the pacing father outside the delivery OR, the student in the last sections of a test, the woman or man waiting for the phone to ring, seconds lengthen and flatten like a twist of ribbon. However the beats of seconds are experienced, they mark and are gone. As Neruda writes so exquisitely, "no one can stop the river of the dawn."

If we really understand and accept this constant loss and influx of time, the inevitable scarcity followed by endless abundance, we find in the apex between the two balance. Without the future there is no possibility of desire, of loss, hence no worry or fear. In the irretrievable past, hesitations languish and nostalgia evaporates like smoke along with regret. We exist in the clear droplet of the possible - the moment we are aware. With all of its realities amongst the shadows of past and possibility. What does this really mean? That in the fullness of Now lies the completeness of living. If we cast our eyes forward, we live in the imaginary. If we cast our hearts back, we live in the lost.

In this way time is the ultimate friend. The firm hand on the elbow; the river guide. Neither tarry nor rush, we slip through existence in the company of time. The passage of time is finite and infinite. We begin mid-stream, and we exit the same. The leaf that falls in at the river bend and drifts out at the shallows. I find time's immutable present tense immensely reassuring. This moment, this now, is real. One after another, discrete pearls of experience.

What will you do with your today?
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