It is unbearably beautiful, and it is unbearably sad.
I am sitting on a bench in a quiet corner of the botanical gardens, and I am trying to pinpoint, once again, this emotion that has been a constant thrum throughout my life.
People drift by, and I can almost feel time, its inevitable essence, flow all around us, curl around every leaf and flower and fly, drifting not lovingly not maliciously simply indifferently, through every part of everything.
I am thinking of all the people all the stories that have passed by this spot, ten, twenty, a hundred, a thousand years ago, and I am thinking of all the people in the future who will do the same, long after I am gone. Will anyone ever sit here like me in a thousand years, wondering about lives long past?
The quiet buzzing of flies and hot sun is a stark reminder of summer, but I only lean back and stare up at the baby blue sky, not a cloud in sight. I close my eyes and imagine soaring upwards and upwards, seeing our world shrink away, and only love and loneliness remain in the emptiness of space.
There is a couple holding hands and laughing, there is a middle aged man carefully taking photos. I marvel at the impermanence of this moment, of any moment. I wonder about these strangers’ pasts and futures, and I see myself from their eyes – an unknown, a flicker of life, to be experienced maybe once maybe twice, and then never again until after we leave this world and rejoin, in some way, the cosmos.
In this moment there is nothing more beautiful than the butterfly’s beating wings, the soft flicker of pink flowers in the breeze. There is nothing more wonderful than millions, billions of years, congregating in this moment, in this place, to be experienced by me for the most miniscule blink in time.
It is wonderful, beautiful, but there is also nothing more inexplicably and quietly sad.
I miss something that I cannot place yet, am nostalgic for a time that I have never lived. I am no different from these lilies in the wind, this small worker ant crawling through the sand.
In these moments I feel an indescribable love for the world – for the people in my life, and all the lives and stories around me, but with that love is the inevitable grief of an inevitable goodbye.
This emotion, the entwining of moments in time until there is no sense of past and present and future; it is hello and goodbye in one heartbeat, love and loss in one moment, happiness and grief conjoined.
Whether it’s at the top of a mountain looking down at the city below, at a darkened silent street curving lonely through the night, at the beauty of the stars and the moon, at the setting sun over a city skyline – wherever, this emotion follows, everywhere. And I am grateful it is here.