One day you look up from your routine, your life, and realize three years has passed by. I’ve always thought of life as a whirlpool—when you’re young you are bobbing around at the periphery and seem to be hardly moving. Then as you get move into teenagedom you can feel the pull and are giddy with movement. Once you hit adulthood you’re spinning wildly toward the center of the whirlpool and can easily reach from one side to the other—last year feels like yesterday. What happens once we’re pulled into the dark center, where do we go? Not to be nihilistic but these are the things I think.
On Saturday I took my daughter to the bay with a friend and his daughter. As the two girls waded in the shallows, dredging for shells and kelp, I noticed she was growing up. Three years may not seem like a long time when you’re an adult, living life and checking days off the calendar. But she’s gone from nothing, literally a single cell, to this complex human being that can delight and surprise me, and who’s completely stolen my heart. Here she is with her friend, two girls in the water. In the blink of an eye she’ll be ten, then twenty, walking down the beach and collecting shells.
Just a short reach across the whirlpool it seems I was at the beach with her yesterday, talking about the waves and debating getting our toes wet.
When I check the date of the photo, I’m shocked. It was May of 2009, a year and a half ago. She is twice as old as she was in this picture. Half a lifetime beyond where she was. These are the things I think as I spin around in the whirlpool.