Impermanence

photo-46It’s early morning. The sun isn’t up yet and I’m trying to remember that most likely my neighbors aren’t either. I have finished with the sleeping for today.

It’s quiet, even online, and a little lonely. I think of friends, some from decades back, who I wouldn’t mind seeing for a chat and a coffee. We’re scattered around the world now, many of us. I used to have this conversation with a lover who I thought would never become one of those distant friends. He used to talk about the time that would come when we would lose track of each other. I thought, rather, that we would be married and maybe have a child. In retrospect, I suppose it’s not mysterious why that didn’t work out. It did take nine years and half the globe to put real distance between us.

We used to talk about the friends so dear, the ones who make an instant connection at the root level. Being a technical person, he meant root in more than one sense. In unix, root is a way to operate in a system that bypasses all controls. You won’t get a “This is a really stupid thing, do you really want to do it?” warning box. Some people seem to arrive with root access. It was like that with us, and it was mutual.

I’m not sure it’s always mutual. In fact, I suspect, more often than not, it’s not.

It’s early evening. Most of the day has passed. A work day, an errand day. A day interspersed with messages to and from friends.

I have a lot of trouble with impermanence. I think I’m not alone in that, since the concept forms essentially the basis of Buddhism. So I think it’s fair to call it a human problem, rather than a personal problem. But it does operate at a personal level.

Last weekend, I was thinking of the people I share my day to day goings on with now. People very dear to me. It’s a fact that these are not the same people I had this kind of relationship with two years ago, or five years ago, or fifteen years ago. And yet these are the things that feel most permanent. These are the interactions that feel most real. Most stable. Most steady. I feel an emotional vertigo thinking about this kind of change.

Last weekend, I sent a note to a friend who was for a long time a part of my everyday. Now we catch up in quality ways, less frequently. Time drifts on. I sent her a note that said “Where I am is very pretty. But a little lonely.” Her response came back quickly. “Get on a train to Bridgehampton.” So I did.

With a nod to The Matrix…

Some things in this world never change.

And some things do.

But really, everything does. My key to accepting this is acceptance.

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One response to “Impermanence

  1. I look back on friends that have come and gone with a nice kind of nostalgia. They have played an important role in my life, but that time has passed. Now there are different people who fill that role, and I’m okay with that. People change, and needs change also. To me, it’s natural that people come and go from each other’s lives.

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