This summer has provided me with many opportunities to see the natural cycles of death in the human world, in the business world, in the natural world. Sitting upon a pontoon floating in Ahmic Lake this past week I pondered this seeming permanence we bring with us in this life; this notion that everything will stay the same forever...until it changes (often against our will), either slowly or in a moment.
The first of these changes was the burning of the downtown in Magnetawan, where my cottage is located and where I have been going every summer for 28 years...since I was born.
When I drove in on the Monday morning it was business as usual. Stopping in for random groceries, picking up an O Magazine, just checking out what kinds of ice creams they had in stock. And then before long it was this...
And now it's simply dirt...
I know that words cannot express a heartfelt loss sometimes. Thinking back to all the places the 'Downtown Magnetawan' shirts have seen from countries and continents and all the places it will continue to see as it's legacy lives on in everyone who owns their beloved shirts.
I did and still do take serious pride in being in a collection of photos along side Jimmy Carter and his wife! (He's just left of the black man in the big photo in the middle and that's my fam directly above the black man). And yet this photo from the internet is the only remnants of that pride I have aside from my memory, as it is all gone now.
Yet even the simplest things like our neighbour no longer having the 'fish cutting board' where we used to watch her fillet fish fresh from the lake from her husband's catch nearly every morning we were there. Or perhaps the absence of frogs in our ditch or snapping turtles under the docks. Every year it feels we are left with one less seemingly permanent thing.
Or perhaps it's a friend from high school days, who you might look forward to running into randomly at the grocery store on a visit home. And then finding out they have died and that the only place to run into them is your dreams and memories.
Or perhaps its a covered bridge in Vermont or a road that you took to your friends house that no longer exists. It could be any number of things. It could even be the shift from the old you to the new you, where you look back and do not even recognise yourself for the changes you have made.
And in and amongst all this destruction is something new waiting to emerge, empty land waiting to be built or re-built upon, babies waiting to be born, ducks and geese wandering the waters instead of turtles with destructive jaws, and a fort built by the young neighbour's son which will disappear with the wind only to be rebuilt next summer, and new relationships emerging from all of this chaos. And among the depth of it all, a warrior's heart, a strong heart, a deep appreciation for all that lives and all that dies and all that resides in the inbetween of birth and death, or rebirth and death.
Yes, things change, yes sometimes it's hard to deal with and yet somehow I do. Somehow my brain and heart come together in understanding this cycle, they come together and form a bond with each other, for what my head cannot deal with, my heart can and always does. This sense of permanence we all bring with us is not what is exterior to us, it is what is interior to us, it is what we are made of, it is our spirit being projected outward. And in our world of duality, even Me...as a physical being, am impermanent, just like you, just like the covered bridges and friends and downtowns. Somewhere in the in between of constantly being reborn unto myself until my own physical death...
I choose to live life fully, to embrace the emotion of change with love and delight in the midst of grief, for a new dawn is coming...it's just beyond our sight.