Lots of us love a trip to the beach, don’t we? I love the sound of the surf, the surge of the water, the breaking of the waves on the sand, and the rush of noise as the water flows back into the sea. It’s like breathing. It’s like the ocean is breathing. Have you ever taken a little time to watch the waves and see if you can spot any patterns? I’m not a surfer but I guess the surfers learn to read the waves in a language I don’t know.
I was lying on my back on the sand and I looked up and saw a number of seeds passing by high in the sky, blown along in invisible currents of air. I wondered where they had come from, and where they would end up.
When I got back home I noticed these in the garage –
Now I don’t for a moment think these are the same seeds! Sure, they are also windblown seeds but I really don’t think these are the ones which passed overhead at the coast making their way inland…..but probably not to my garage. But where did these ones come from? And is this the end of their journey? In my garage?
All this got me wondering about the things we do, the thoughts we think, the words we utter and write. I’ve often thought that all we do, think and say in life sets off and has effects we couldn’t predict, couldn’t have expected, and didn’t intend. I’ve tended to use the metaphor for waves for that. Like when you throw a stone into the water and you can’t tell what ripples will emerge or what effects those ripples will have elsewhere in the pond.
Others have used the story of the butterfly, haven’t they? You’ll be familiar with that I expect. How chaos theory shows that small changes in the initial conditions can result in massive differences in the outcomes, and how the story of a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world can result in a hurricane elsewhere.
But these seeds, blown in the wind, strike me as another powerful metaphor for these truths about our world. The connectedness of everything…..how nothing occurs in isolation, how because of the nature of connections and openness of systems we can never contain causes and effects in simplistic terms, and, so of course, how that means that unpredictability is the essence of life. How no-one, not even an “expert” can know exactly how the future will pan out.
So, these seeds might set off from a plant somewhere on the planet, cross seas, cross lands and end up either growing into a flower, a bush or a tree somewhere distant, of landing somewhere where there is no soil (like in my garage)…….or maybe that’s not the end of their journey if I, a human being, pick them up and release them.
If our actions, words and thoughts are like that, then maybe the best we can do is choose the good ones, the loving ones, the kind ones, the nurturing ones……so that wherever they end up they might contribute something positive to our world.