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Each Moment

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Dawn over the Merrick, South Galloway

When a night becomes endless it has to be ended. Climbing this hill in the dark is cold and wet, but the darkness of a morning mountainside is different from the darkness of a lonely bedroom. Here is, if not hope, then at least an absence of despair.

The dog doesn’t care either way. He quests, head down, through the heather. I watch him break into swerving bounds as each new-born scent leaps from the damp earth, every one a bright, new experience; every one a promise. He feels my attention and stops, turns to look back at me, his chin bearded with dew, one ear inside out. We regard each other for a long moment, then he tires of the stillness, releases a quiet yap and returns to his duties.

I reach the summit and crouch down, sheltering from the wind behind the cairn of stones. Dawn is climbing the other side of the Merrick and I watch her pink fingers reach over his broad shoulders to chase the shadows from his ancient face. I find myself silently singing an old Incredible String Band song.

Each moment is different from any before it.
Each moment is different. It’s now.

In that different moment I feel the day pouring into me like cold, fresh water. It babbles and splashes, washing away the brooding fug that crouched at my bedhead a thousand feet below me. I breathe deeply, feeling the bright, new coldness flooding into me and I see that I, too, am different. I’m Now. Despair is impossible; loss is impossible; sadness is impossible. They’re all then. Fear too is impossible; that lives in a future that has no meaning in this astonishing Now.

I scratch the dog’s ears and he leans into my leg. He knew this all along, simply because it never occurred to him that it could be otherwise. Every smell was exciting because it was, in every sense, new. Everything I see, touch, hear, feel, everything is happening for the first time, because never before have they been Now.

Dawn lifts her bright head over old Merrick’s shoulders to look across the moors. A skylark bursts into the air, giggling in the joy of this new day and I want to launch myself after it to bob in the new-born freshness. Last night I rolled in the hot grieving turmoil of another ending, not knowing that there are no endings, only beginnings. Every second, every billionth of a second, the universe creates itself to be Now. The universe that was, never was, so how can there be endings? As I look out at the mist rising from the awakening land I am seeing what no one has ever seen before. Even the sun, waxing in power is a new sun. I have never seen it before, and the me that it warms did not exist before this moment.

There can never be grief, because the person who felt that grief no longer exists. There is only me, now, poised on the ecstasy of Now and the promise of soon. In this moment I am omnipotent; I am creating this dawn as a beginning for the me that will make use of it. The me that will create the Now that I wished for and never gained, not knowing that it was always here, waiting for me to arrive. That is the secret known to scent-questing dogs and sky-trilling larks, and now that I have it too my heart beats faster and I will run down the hill, shouting it to the bracken.

This moment is different. It’s now. And all beginnings begin… now.

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