People say, live every day as if it were your last. You’ve heard that. But what would it look like, really? If this day was my last? I can’t imagine it would make me terribly productive or helpful.
Or maybe it would?
Would I be writing this? Would I be seized by a kind of urgency? Would I talk really fast, say every last thing in a desperate panic or would I be ultra-calm, surrendered, like the audio of pilots just before they crash—a simple, quiet, Oh shit.
Would I sob in my house, unable to move? Clutch everyone dear to me, confess my secrets, apologize for the petty things I held on to? Make a sweet forgiveness to myself for not knowing how to have done so many things differently?
Run through the streets screaming NO NO NO NO?
Give everything away?
Spend hours and hours savoring the world of sensation? Make love, eat, drink, paint canvases with my naked body, slow down, look deeply at the natural world?
Would I pick dandelions, make a chain necklace, drape them around the neck of every one I meet saying, You matter, You matter, You matter.
I read that many people are surprised to learn that the yellow dandelion blossom and the white puff ball are the same flower, separated only by time. I went down a small rabbit hole when I learned this, clicking links about the dandelion, this common herb most people consider a weed, a blight on their perfectly manicured lawn. It’s actually like us, ordinary but not unspecial, deep roots, tenacious, found everywhere.
Did you know that dandelions open in the morning and close at night?
Did you know the dandelion flower is the only one that represents the sun (the yellow blossom), the moon (the white puff ball), and the stars (the parachute seeds dispersed in the air)?
Did you know it’s actually a highly beneficial wild herb? A composite blossom? That the white tufted parts are fruits, that each seed attaches to about 100 feathery bristles?
Did you know a single parachute seed can travel up to 5 miles?
That kids the world over use it to seal a wish? This last one I made up. It may be true. It seems to me that it ought to be true.
Everyone makes wishes, don’t you think? In innocence, curiosity, desperation…
We wish for courage, clarity, a second chance, open-heartedness, someone to come (back) into our lives. Wishing is a kind of magic, but not literally, like some people might think.
Wishing can be a way to block out what feels too painful but it can also be a way to call in the mystery, and our own more wonder-filled, permeable consciousness.
Wishing can help me notice the mystery of this life, participate in the mystery of this life, including the mystery of how our time here impacts and affects other people. Like those parachute seeds. You have no idea where they go, where they land.
I think of the people who are no longer here, from the dear friends to fleeting encounters with strangers like the little boy I saw at the zoo shoving a tiny crinkled dead leaf through a hole in the fence saying, in all earnestness, Here Duck Here Duck to an enormous moose.
I want to use my potential as much as I’m able and be less concerned about the meaning—let my parachute seeds go where they go, let time disperse them, let me stand spent, a sentinel keeping watch on the wind, ready to let go when it’s time.