Beautiful reflection on impermanence from author & journalist Kathryn Schulz
A reflection on practice by Other Teachers & Folks We Value
An excerpt from the book “Lost & Found” by Kathryn Schulz…
That is all we have, this moment with the world. It will not last, because nothing lasts. Entropy, mortality, extinction: the entire plan of the universe consists of losing, and no matter how much we find along the way, life amounts to a reverse savings account in which we are eventually robbed of everything. Our dreams and plans and jobs and knees and backs and memories; the keys to the house, the keys to the car, the keys to the kingdom, the kingdom itself: sooner or later, all of it drifts into the Valley of Lost Things.
Nothing about that is strange or surprising; it is the fundamental, unalterable nature of things. The astonishment is all in the being here. It is the turtle in the pond, the thought in the mind, the falling star, the stranger on Main Street… To all of this, loss, which seems only to take away, adds its own kind of necessary contribution. No matter what goes missing, the object you need or the person you love, the lessons are always the same. Disappearance reminds us to notice, transience to cherish, fragility to defend. Loss is a kind of external conscience, urging us to make better use of our finite days. Our crossing is a brief one, best spent bearing witness to all that we see: honoring what we find noble, tending what we know needs our care, recognizing that we are inseparably connected to all of it, including what is not yet upon us, including what is already gone. We are here to keep watch, not to keep.
Kathryn Schulz is a journalist & author. She is a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine, where she has written about everything from the legacy of an early Muslim immigrant in Wyoming, to the radical life of a civil rights activist, to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, to brown marmorated stinkbugs. In 2016, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for her article on the risk of a major earthquake & tsunami in the Pacific Northwest.
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