Time as a river, time as a pond

“Time as a river is more a Euro-American concept of time, with each event happening and passing on like a river flows downstream.

Time as a pond is a more Native American concept of time, with everything happening on the same surface, in the same area—and each event is a ripple on the surface.” ~ Dave Edmunds [Cherokee]

Wandering through the Eiteljorg Museum, I was struck by this different metaphor for time. A different way of looking at life. This quote juxtaposed the image of life whooshing by as a river, never to  return—you can’t step into the same river twice—with the image of life as a continuous whole.

What does it mean to see life as a pond, a self-contained body of water? To see things that happen in your life as ripples that ripple out to affect different bits of your life?

Instead of passing you by, as quickly or as slowly as the river flows, life exists. Sometimes turbulent. Sometimes still. But always a complete whole with one ripple impacting bits of your life or its entirety.

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