And Then It Is Gone

by Julie on September 13, 2011 · 8 comments

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What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the winter time; it is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. ~ Crowfoot, chief of the Siksika First Nation (1830-1890)

I read this and I hear the words, “and then it is gone.”.

I feel the beauty inherent in each of these ephemeral experiences. I catch a glimpse of the times in my life when I haven’t tried to hang on and I notice the freedom I felt when that happened.

I love to take photographs and what captures my eye, more often than not, are these fleeting images of life as it splays itself out – the rose in sumptuous blossom, the full moon at its peak, a whole-body smile flashing through my grandson.

And then I notice how many times in my life, which would be most of them, that I try to hang on to this beauty.

Life is fleeting, ephemeral. I know this. And, dang it if I don’t try to hang on to the ephemeral…seeing that written in words makes it so clearly painful to do so.

flash…

breath…

fleeting…

all words that show us clearly that life isn’t anything solid or real.

and, yet…

Hanging on to the fleeting is impossible…it falls through our grasp.

And this is where suffering happens…

Life doesn’t need to be fixed or saved.

Life is sacred. Perhaps it only needs to be seen, witnessed, loved.

Perhaps instead of taking, holding on, grasping, I can learn to give back, to appreciate, to honor, to acknowledge, to witness…

What might it take for us to remember the sacredness of this life, to witness it as such, to bow down to its fleeting nature?

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Lindsey September 13, 2011 at 7:47 am

I couldn’t agree more that life is in the fleeting, in the ineffable, in the swiftly-passing. But I haven’t remotely figured out how to stop grasping, how to stop suffering, how to stop wishing it would just slow day and stay still. I am hoping you can teach me!! xox

Erica September 13, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Beautiful and exactly what I needed tonight… Thank you!

Maria Norcia Santillanes September 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Beautiful! Loved the quote and life is indeed sacred.

Garrett September 16, 2011 at 8:24 am

You’re the best, Julie.

What a lovely post, and the flower petals speak volumes.

You are a seer. And you communicate well the tension being told to hold on, telling oneself to hold on, and knowing at the same time life is ephemeral and fleeting.

“He who binds himself to a joy,
doth the winged life destroy,
but he who kisses a joy as it flies,
lives in eternity’s sunrise.”

Blake

Doesn’t make it any easier, does it?

Right now, at this fraction of eternity, your words ehco like the flower and it changes and comes again.

Garrett September 16, 2011 at 8:33 am

The open hand, and as @spiver describes, the open heart

Christa September 16, 2011 at 8:59 am

I just keep forgiving myself, Julie, and forgiving others and breathing…

and taking it in. While it is here, while I am here. That’s all I know to do.

That and take photographs!

Thank you… for this and all you do…

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