Last night, I stood in the back of our property after closing in our chickens for the night. There was a gust of wind, which shook the leaves in the mighty oak trees all down the hillside behind our house–the whoosh crested and then died back, a powerful but temporary halt in the silence of our rural landscape.
The earth seemed to be taking a deep breath. I listened, then I followed in kind–feeling the air fill my lungs. My body felt a beautiful pause–lungs full and satisfied, air clean and fresh. I felt the blood pump all the way to my fingers and my toes. But soon that feeling was followed by an immediate need to exhale. The beautiful pause couldn’t be contained. It had to be enjoyed and then released.
These deep breaths–whether by the earth or by our bodies–are necessarily fleeting. There must be an appreciation in the immediate moment and a willingness to let that moment continue on to its natural progression of exhale in the next. Trying to hold on too tightly to that moment would actually end up in disruption and discomfort; a sustained strong wind instead of a fleeting gust could be damaging. A breath held too long begins to feel uncomfortable and then desperate.
We cannot cling to this moment–no matter how good it feels. We cannot continue to inhale without an exhale. We cannot force time to halt.
It moves on.
The only thing we can do is commit to being present–to relish the Now. And that Now feels all the sweeter when accompanied by an acceptance of its transitory nature…that it can be relished and enjoyed but not captured or tamed. We begin the inhale knowing that an exhale is inevitable.
But there is comfort in knowing that the beauty of Now will soon become part of the vast catalogs of our memory, mere words that are written within pages and pages of our history. Because there are many more moments to come–more breaths to inhale, more moments to squeeze and pull tightly to ourselves before letting those go as well.
In the willingness to let go, we respect the power of the immediate moment and welcome the potential of what is to come.
And we exhale.