It occurred to me this afternoon that maybe Life is like a walk in an enormous garden. There’s no required goal or specific path for you to take, no ultimate destination in mind. Instead, it’s about being present in the moment, feeling the sun on your face and the wind against your skin. It’s about climbing trees or bending your knee to smell a hyacinth. It’s about hearing the crunch of your feet against the gravel on the path and the sound of the birds and squirrels and other assorted wild things all around you.
Maybe Life is about listening and watching for meaningful instants so that they don’t pass you by, unnoticed among all the other moments to either side of them. Maybe it’s about the whole experience, all those moments sewn together in a journey well—or poorly—spent.
Maybe sometimes, when we come into the garden, we see a sign announcing an orchid display and we say, “Oh! I *must* see the orchids! I want to do that more than anything!” And so for that trip, the destination and the purpose is all about the orchids. We go, and we view all the lovely blossoms and twining stems and oddly shaped leaves, and when we’ve seen them all, we go home. And it doesn’t matter that we saw nothing else but orchids on that trip because we can always go again. The garden is far too large to see it all in one visit; each time we go, we see something new. Maybe most times we take the same familiar paths we’ve taken before and still see new things; maybe sometimes we take newly discovered trails and find segments of the whole we never knew existed before.
As long as we remember that the garden is not all birds and butterflies and flowers, we can move through the garden with our hearts and our minds open. It takes both predator *and* prey to fill a garden, and both joy *and* sorrow to fill a life. If we forget that and focus on only the fear or sorrow or pain, moving through the garden with our senses closed and shut away, the trip is wasted; Life—and the garden—is an experiential mystery that cannot be understood or enjoyed except by full immersion, no matter which path you take.
Maybe it’s really that simple. And that complex.