Change Comes from the Weirdest Places
When I was a kid, I lived in the Midwest of the U.S. Although all of the open fields and farms that used to surround us eventually got gobbled up by the burgeoning suburbs, for a time, it was a relatively rural area.
There was a strange phenomenon that occurred every year, brought to fruition by the heavy spring rainfalls that the farms depended upon. Every dip in the ground formed a puddle, the creek flowed, and “seasonal ponds” emerged. A seasonal pond was a pond that appeared in the spring, but by the end of summer it had completely dried up.
It wasn’t a particularly significant thing on its own, but what was important was that these ponds were not just holes in the ground that filled with water. They were living ponds, teeming with life. They were full of aquatic reptiles (frogs, toads, and the like) and, get this, fish, sometimes big fish!
As a kid, I took that for granted but later in life, I got really curious about it. OK, so the toads and frogs could walk (or rather hop) over from some permanent water body, but fish? Fish can’t walk! How did they get there?
So, I consulted a friend of mine, well studied in such things, and was both stunned and delighted with what I learned. They flew in. You read that right, they flew in.
Of course, fish can’t fly any better than they can walk, so obviously they had to hitch a ride. Fish eggs were laid in the shallow water of large, permanent lakes and ponds. Then, migrating waterfowl would stop for a rest. They would land in those ponds and lakes, collecting fish eggs on their feet, and land once again in one of the seasonal ponds, and voila! Fish would appear in the middle of nowhere, where only a week before there was just a dry, shallow hole.
And so, the fish rode in first class, on the feet of ducks. I am not making this up. It inspired me at the time to ponder how strange and unpredictable life is. How it can change with the wind and change again just as fast. Some changes are desirable and welcomed. Others, not so much. Some flit by so quickly that they are barely noticed. Some linger for what seems like forever. That is the nature of change. Truth is, we experience these life-changing moments every minute of every day.
There is an ever-ongoing barrage of subtle bumps, rubs, pushes, and pulls that change our entire life’s trajectory, often imperceptibly. And, anybody who has ever taken geometry knows that even the tiniest change in direction, when extrapolated over enough distance, can put you a million miles away from wherever it was you intended to go.
It is as if life is purposely kicking us out of the nest and forcing us into uncharted territory. And that is exactly what it is doing because life is all about constant change!
We must willingly choose to participate in this flow of change. This is the great calling of this life.
It is true what the Zen dudes have said for centuries, “You can’t put your foot in the same river twice.” Even if your feet are covered with eggs.