We all have our demons. For some, it’s thoughts that cycle endlessly. Others are awash in images moving rapidly across the inner vision like a series of frames. Like gazing directly into the morning sun and seeing orbs burned into whatever else one is looking at for awhile afterward, dwelling on any frame for long pollutes the present with its memory. Concepts and sensory impressions are how the mind archives, yet can prevent presence in each teachable moment in the present.
I have witnessed a humpback whale breach fully out of the water at close range; summoned a full grown female moose who, in the end, got too close for comfort. I have swum with giant mantas and screeching, flapping loons who veered so close I glimpsed their fiery red eyes and the glossy ebony feathers that redefined the color black forever. I have observed shades of evening sky that defy an artist’s palette, gazed at a billion stars and constellations while floating for hours on my back inside a lone canoe on a crystal pond. I have watched northern lights descend like a final curtain, undulating for hours in brilliant prismatic hues. I’ve danced with fireflies like stars lighting up acres of fields on a summer’s night. An early morning walk once gifted me with a rare fisher cat and her two babies as well as a young black bear emptying bird seed from each of our feeders as casually as a drunk in a dumpster. I once cared for a horse who let me sit in her stall while she gave birth; I have attended the nativity of a tiny human being.
It’s not like I didn’t gasp with wonder when these events were happening, yet only in hindsight did I realize just how profound each experience had been. Perhaps this is how memory sustains throughout life’s most challenging aspects. Yet to dwell in what has passed even a moment ago is to live in a place that no longer exists. Right here, right now is potent with possibilities. Again and again, this wanderer returns home to the present.