Engraved onto… The floating Planks of time

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A sunny warm day at the beach, what a pleasure…

Very early in the morning, he had his sunglasses on, a cap, a light shirt and elegant shorts. He put his hands into his shorts pockets and strolled bare foot at the edge of the water. The place was almost deserted. As the water was lapping at his feet, some incessant thoughts were lapping at his mind. What makes this particular moment in time so important? Like many other moments in his life, this one will eventually pass and may even be forgotten. At every juncture of his tumulus life, he would stop and think to himself, “This is a turning point. I don’t know how I shall survive these events.” Yet, here he is, just about to celebrate his eightieth birthday …oh, how many of those turning points had gone by…and now he is just looking back fondly at all the good and bad days alike, Reminiscing about friends and enemies, successes and failures as well as hopes and disappointments. It all seemed like it had been engraved onto the planks of time… floating on the waves of an endless ocean inside his head. Some whimsical wind brings them together, and then it scatters them apart.

He found a rocky area in the beach, so he sat down on the sand and leaned back against the rock. The sea gulls were fighting over a piece of food at the distance. Humans do that too. So many times he had to fight his way through life. The injustice, the deception and the greed he had to endure seemed unbearable at the time…He had to wonder if he had inflicted any of these agonies on anybody …?

Meanwhile, the laughter, the pleasure and the good company had that deceptive impression of being perpetual and unending. Somehow at times, he felt invincible. He could claw his way through everything and everyone without any fear of reprisal or consequences. Nothing and no one could stop him from going where he wanted… or getting what he was after……At other times though, it looked like the whole world was about to collapse over his head. He was so sure of his impending demise that he gave up all shreds of hope.

His face lit up in a big smile accentuating all the wrinkles around his eyes and lips, as he remembered the time he was lying in the hospital, in an intensive care unit after a bout of internal bleeding. Everybody thought he had no chance. That was forty years ago. One of his sincere concerned friends offered to donate blood to save him. It was not compatible. In an ironic twist of fate, a year later that same friend passed away at age forty one…Well, so many had already left this way station called earth. Soon, it shall be his turn. Would he meet them up there? Or down there?

Why is this particular moment in time more important than any other moment before or after? What is it that makes any particular moment stand out above all the rest? Some silly moments, you thought you would never want to remember, linger for so long and keep haunting you. While, other big eventful and overwhelming moments, become fuzzy and faded as all your attempts to recall them clearly become an exhausting waste of time.

Some people survive only to churn old memories over and over again. They come to a point in their lives where time practically stops. They seem to become oblivious to everything and everyone around them as they travel backward and refuse to let go of dead people and dead events…

Some others live all their days dreaming of a wonderful future that never comes true. They bump into people as if they don’t see them. They stumble onto events and brush them aside. Tomorrow everything will be all right, they say. They cannot accept that tomorrow is a coin which has not been minted yet. It has no appreciable value and they cannot trade it off for today.

The sea gulls have become very noisy, and more people were flocking to the beach…He stood up and strolled leisurely by reflecting on the myriads of chattered clam shells strewn around in the sand. Once those clam shells were intact…they were housing living clams inside…People, birds and animals walk all over them without so much as a fleeting thought concerning them…how many people had passed by this spot in the beach before? How many will come here later on? Regardless of their position on the time scale, every single one will eventually fly away to a place wider that the sea…farther than any rainbow, and as unfathomable as eternity…

He drew a deep breath of the refreshing breeze, glanced at the gentle waves and trapped their image inside his mind as he closed his eyes. He wondered, “Will that place I go to, be so refreshing…and so pleasant. Will I be in good company? Or….”

“How come you didn’t think about this before?” he opened his eyes to see who was saying this. Two people were talking as they passed by him. He smiled to himself and repeated the question in his mind. He was happy, because indeed he was thinking about this all the time…ever since he was a child learning about ‘eternal life after the resurrection’…that’s probably why that thought doesn’t frighten him like it does so many other people…he is actually anxious to experience “eternal life ……”

The sun was getting too hot now…this is a changing place. It is beautiful and inspirational. But it is a changing place. It can be too hot, and it can be too cold…but he was told that that other eternal place… never changes…the mere thought sent a shiver down his spine…why?

He stood there staring at the tireless waves for a moment. He reflected grinning to himself… Life on this beach we call earth is an ocean in which we are just scratches engraved on the floating planks of time.

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