One Among Many

Sam FraleyDecember 31, 2016Exploring TimeAwesome Moments
One Among Many

Artwork by Merrell Hatton

Fog lingers like the words of a friend, or even a stranger. Obscuring much, it is a protector, concealing hidden fortunes, only to timidly reveal them when the time is right.

In this case, there is a small outdoor school. The fog lingers under canopies and in open space. The wind bites like an angry animal, wanting you to know it’s there and not to cross it. There is no one here, only the wind carrying whatever it can find, words and litter alike. The wind is a messenger. Right here, nothing is happening. But what about the small suburban house 400 yards north? There a child is taking his first steps, surrounded by the anxious faces of relatives. They will remember this moment forever, clinging to it like an heirloom, as opposed to the memory of the troubled lonely student finally leaving school. Both opposites, like Yin and Yang, are happening at the same moment in time.

Fog creeps up the house’s windows, and idles around the vacant swing-set. It sits, willing to stay the same forever. It covers all it can. But now, retracing the student’s steps, you see the environment that some children hate, and others adore: school. The school isn’t desolate all the time, in spite of the worn down grass and litter. It feels even lonelier with the left over trash and the lost-and-found clothes, as if there are people here, hidden in the shadows. In a day or two, the now shivering benches might be crawling with life. The same house with the young explorer could be vacant. Will unrelenting winds bring down the heavy hand of change to the fog, send it sprawling for cover like a wounded animal? Eventually everything changes, the only unknown variable is how long it takes. Things can be frozen in constant repetition for years, only to change with the smallest push, a word or phrase.

A dozen years into the future, that same toddler is now rebelling against his parents. Perhaps the school has been rented out, or all the teachers are gone. The same lonely kid may be lonelier than ever, or recalling his middle school days spent in anguish. But time is still sprinting forward.

Every day happens once, and only once. If the events of one day were changed, how would things be different, how would it affect the greater image of life?

If someone had stepped up and befriended the lonely teenager, how would his life have been different? If you were standing at the center of the school, from its start to its closing, there would be a million moments, a million memories, and a trillion emotions. All of those leading up to, affecting , and ultimately contributing to the lives of numerous alumni of that school, whether they realize it or not. It would still be the same place, but things are changing rapidly. From a strong economic area to a weak one, from a large population to a small one — yet in the same school.

Looking around, a single person can perceive the change. The student can see changes in the appearance of the school and even the emotional field of unseen signals. They can see everything going on at the school, sure, but are they living it? They may or may not be feeling the joy of being around hundreds of people their age, they may or may not feel nostalgia or regret as the year ends. Time makes unforeseen changes to the world around us; it shapes the essence of us as beings. Every moment is evolving and transforming into another. It’s how we proceed that’s important.

The world is always happening. Are you a part of the world happening around you?