The tent is set, with the ThermaRest inflating itself inside. The sun is still plenty high to explore the area!
Clambering over the fallen tree as high as my knees, my fingertips grasp the deep grooves in the bark. How long has it been down? How long did it live? How much changed in the world during its lifetime? What did it observe? What could it not see from where it stood?
The rushing stream calls my attention. Icy cold this early in the season, it pours over rocks that will bake in the sun next month.
Squatting down to get as close to the edge as possible, delight fills me as the setting sun glitters on flecks of mica tumbling in the tiny waves at the shoreline. Childhood calls out “It must be GOLD!” and we play together in that fantasy, reaching in to capture sparkle on fingertips that have explored fascination all my life. Touching the surface. Holding sparkle. Partners in curiosity. Until the next wavelet washes it away and brings a new experience. Drifting fingers in the flow and making my own waves.
The tiny wavelet, like the single flame in the campfire, has a lifetime less than a second. A single moment of being its fullness. Then, not being.
Yet the stream still IS. Entirely new collection of droplets, which never mingled with last year’s snow melt. And I know it as the same stream. The tree completed its cycle, yet I know the same forest.
And me? Just the same. Only different.