I’ve been thinking about the concept of impermanence. The idea of “forever” not really being forever. The premise that nothing is forever.
While that may seem like a sad reality, in actuality when I started pondering it the other day it was in a celebratory manner. I was thinking something like, “These sunny days (both weather-wise and attitude-wise) will not be around forever – I need to enjoy them while they are here!”. It didn’t feel like a negative reaction to the realization of impermanence, it felt like a gentle nudge – a reminder – that our time here is short and meant to be enjoyed.
I am not sure what started me on this train of thought. It could be the impending end of year, but I hope it is something less cyclical than that. It might be that my lovely two week period of not taking any work is coming to a close, but I hope that is not the reason. The truth is; I guess I think about impermanence a lot, though I hadn’t labeled it. I think about death – not my death – but death in general. We had a spate of deaths in the early 2000s where David and I lost 3 parents in 4 years. That experience totally altered my mind-set. It changed so much about me – my humor, my belief in my abilities, my appreciation for life, the way I structure my time, and my compassion. That experience of impermanence, of death, made me appreciate life more.
There have not been any big reminders of impermanence, such as death, lately. It has been the small things: a sand castle being washed away is what started the thinking. And as I thought, I realized that nothing is forever. Certainly not our things - material things come and go. Not our friendships – those are fluid, too. Not our health. Not love – even if we are lucky enough to find someone who seems to fit perfectly into our lives that person (and we) will not live forever, or perhaps the love will morph and become unwanted.
I decided I wanted to document the concept of “nothing is forever” in photos. I started today by walking to the beach with an idea in mind. And before I could even get to the water’s edge, I was struck with finality – a large dead turtle on the shore. It made me sad, yet it was as in your face as it could get with what I had been pondering. It is easy to see impermanence in living things – a flower dying, a whale washing up, a candle burning down, a miscarriage… I want to open my eyes (and mind) and see what I believe is impermanence all around – reminders that forever is a fallacy and that NOW is what is important. I do not mean that as granting myself permission to go crazy since time is short. I mean opening my mind and my heart and appreciating what is present now. Being present in now.
So I will try and tune in and be aware. Document with photos. And celebrate the lack of forever by being appreciative of the now.