Some mornings you wake up to a perfect day, where the wind glides across your skin just so and the sunlight paints the banal and mundane into a colorful masterpiece. When everything in your small corner of the world feels just right.
Saturday morning dawned on just such a day and all the world smiled back at me as I hopped into a van destined for a silk island in the middle of the Mekong. It is on these day that people smile at me for no apparent reason, when ferry captains invite me onto the boat’s roof to give me high-fives, when children who cannot speak my language pounce on me for piggy-back rides and haul me fully clothed into the river.
It is also a day for the most poignant introspection. When the context of your thoughts seem to flow seamlessly with the environment around you and messages and meanings come from the waves of the ocean or applauding fields of grass. You don’t think grass can applaud? Try one day, sit for a while and just listen…
This past year I’ve felt old to my very bones, as if a soul of a 40 year-old has taken up residence in my 27yr-old body. Seeing too much ugliness in the world causes me to lose faith in the goodness of people, to forget to hope, and hope is what keeps you young.
Perching atop a rock, I watch the sluggish flow of the Mekong carving a path into the immovable surface of the stone and it put me in mind of the nature of change. I bet no one would have predicted the effects the water’s flow would have on the rocks surface a year, a month or even a week ago. The nature of change happens slowly or not at all. All the ugliness, hate, corruption and ignorance in the world seems to me like the immovable surface of this stone. No matter how many waves of enlightenment and advancement crash upon its surface, it stays immovable. Jubilant in it’s stagnate stupor.
And yet, as the waves persist, one after the other, like clockwork of the gods, a small fissure appears and then a crack and soon a gaping hole into which the happy water gushes and plays. And slowly, oh so slowly, over time the immovable is moved by the persistent. The rock is contoured to the waves, the liquid shapes the solid.
The business of creating change is the business of patience, persistence. The effects of one wave isn’t immediately perceivable. The effect of one droplet isn’t palpable until its put into the context of the ocean.
I am impatient. I want change NOW! I want people to evolve and adapt and to become something better; a creature that doesn’t need to look at the color of skin to discern kinship, a creature that doesn’t hate or kill on account of differing beliefs or opinions, that doesn’t need to start wars or rape or pillage to feel superior and dominant. I’m looking for a creature that doesn’t use a book and a religion to justify their baser tendencies. I’m looking for something to hope for.
Change is the business of patience, the collective act of a persistent ocean made up of a sea of singular water droplets.
“Persist,” whispers the waters.