Sometimes I can feel the neurons in my head recharging to execute a wrong decision once again. And in that shiver of a moment, I sometimes see the long view of my life stretched out before me like bolts of drying linen across the stone floor of time. Thoughts meander around rejected choices like flies gathering around a corpse. I see clearly how a time machine would never work in practice. Early morning clothing choices often involve considerations for the future of my dating world and career. How could a time machine allow me a second look at a mercury-like past without changing everything in the world around it?
A few times in life, you will be asked to gather together into a group and straws will be drawn to decide your fate. This may or may not happen literally or even with you in attendance. But your future will be decided on the seemingly fickle whim of Chance. Cutbacks at work, the branch snaps, you lean left and the bullet splits your open fingers rather than your skull (happened to my grandpa in WW2). For whatever reasons, you survive or perish in some small or big way. The ripples spread out from there and the universe moves forward with or without you.
And what shall we do riding these waves of time, treading water around the wreckage of some ship that brought us to where we are now? When the sharks gather and make passes at your legs, shall you kick and scream them away or blow out your air? Or is there another path along those concentric curls that might angle the sun more clearly onto your face as you descend another trough?
Perhaps the answer is sacrifice. Not the killing of a virgin for the welfare of your town in the eyes of a dragon, but the kind of self-sacrifice that brings light to someone else. We’re so trapped in the shallow focus of our lives that we drown in the circles of confusion that we surround ourselves with. There’s an impossible distance we’ll never reach which will help explain all of the nonsense forced upon us. But if you believe in the ripple, and others believe in theirs, perhaps we can help someone else with a boost when they dip, and maybe along the paths of intersecting arcs, we will in-tern be boosted. However, even if it doesn’t come around in our favor, I’d personally like to contribute to the dance in a good way. If I sink in a conspiracy of bad luck, at least I did something good for someone else. If I hold a child above my head and drown, that child will survive. Maybe a lesson will be learned; maybe it will skip a generation. But in the end, when I view my circles from a distance that allows me to see the patterns, I’m hoping the design will be full of sun, and not shadows.
I think over again
My small adventures, my fears.
The small ones that seemed so big,
For all the vital things I had to get and to reach.
And yet there is only one great thing, the only thing:
To live to see the great day that dawns,
And the light that fills the world.
(Inuit song, 19th century)