Yesterday disappeared for me as soon as I closed my eyes to fall asleep last night. It ceased to be important, because after all, it’s the past. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that most of the time, the vast majority of time in fact, thinking about the past is a waste of time, precious time. Oh, there are times, when our minds hearken back to the past, like when we see a photograph that evokes a memory, of a special moment or person. Those memories are precious, and thinking about them for a few moments, and sharing them with someone close, is a delight. And history, yes history informs us about much, and there are times it is instructive to immerse ourselves there. But otherwise, the past is simply not worthy of my attention anymore.
The present is where it’s at. The wild, unexpected, unscripted, unrehearsed present moment, when anything and everything can change in the blink of an eye. Maybe, one moment you’re walking on a path in the woods, and the next you are scrambling to stay upright because you tripped over a root. It’s the moment you spot an unusually shaped tree, and wonder what caused its branches to grow in such a strange way. Or you’re standing still in your backyard or in a quiet sunny field somewhere because you heard a rustling in the brush or caught a movement out of the corner of your eye. And you wait, holding your breath to see what emerges. Yes, I’ll take the unexpected present, where surprises occur moment to moment.
Maybe you’re sitting in a chair, reading, or watching something on Netflix, and your cell phone rings. And you see that its someone you really want to talk to. It’s when you open the mailbox and find a card, or better yet, a letter addressed to you, or a message in your inbox, or the serious face to face conversation that takes an unexpected turn. Or maybe it’s the small sparrow, who sits on an impossibly thin branch in your neighbor’s yard, or a flock of wild turkeys that moves slowly into your peripheral vision as you’re seated near a window. It’s any number of events, actions, interruptions, disturbances, coincidences, and interactions that happen in real time during the course of your day.
So, I happily say goodbye to the past these days. And don’t even get me started on the future. The future is even less important than the past because it’s just some amorphous, ambiguous, potential possibility; not a real thing at all. It’s just a concept sitting there in our minds, pulling us away from the urgency of now. Yes, give me just the present, and I’m complete, with all its truth, randomness, and uncertainty. I’ll take this one moment, every single time.