Days are small nets, strung together, which we throw over the sides of our little boards into the ocean, hoping to catch something to have and to hold against the moving tide.
We cast for the tide itself, as though we could capture the essence of life, arrest it, know it, keep it.
But nets hold little water, and time, or whatever you choose to call the essence that holds our lives, drains quickly from the days. And what we hoped to keep, to hold, to have – youth, time, now – flows through our nets as though they were not there.
Bits and pieces – flotsam and jetsam – cling to the otherwise empty nets, scraps of now clinging briefly like seaweed to days that once were even while the tide moves outward, gathering steam for the morrow.
We fish in the depts. Of whatever invisible sea holds the skiff assigned to us, casting our days and pulling in the net, searching for a clue to the mystery of life, consciousness, experience, trying to anchor to now. Our private compasses require it always to be now. Present. But each now, like each day, is different; each now melts like a snowflake. Each time we pull the net in, we view the empty dripping of now gone away.
And so one day we walk barefoot in the hot dust of a cornfield and hear blue jays cry and hear huge suction lips of a mule wrench green leaves from the cornstalk and find joy in small things such as throwing sticks for a happy dog to retrieve a thousand times, and we draw in the net and our own children are older than we were on that summer day.
I do not mean to depress. We all sooner or later discover the secret that our life’s journey is brief and that each day moves us like the swollen waves whirling a boat away. But this is all right once we accept the fact that we are indeed on a journey, and that journeys require beginnings and endings, and that we – and the nows of our lives – must continually change because this is at the heart of life and is symbolized by the days allotted to us.
It is not totally true that our casting of nets is a futile pursuit or that our string of days capture no treasures.
We seine the channels of our lives and do not come up empty handed for each day’s cast brings new perceptions, knowledge, images, memories, feelings, hurts and joys and understanding and wisdom.
Our days are metaphysical, not material even as we are more spiritual than material, and our experiences are of the heart and mind and while we cannot see or hold or preserve against change what we catch in our nets, they are real and all we know comes from the days, the nets. And so we fish, not in vain, but because we are in the sea, and the nets, are all we have, and they are quite enough.