1st Meeting of The Beginning
Sven thought it appropriate to frame our first meeting with a bio-fact he’d just learned from the local dinosaur museum. I’m not a biologist, so I don’t know the life chances of tadpoles, but I certainly hope the light of our collaboration isn’t so bright that we get eaten by bats!
Things happen and we make up their reasons.
We never know if others perceive phenomena in the same way that we do; all we have are references points of presence, perception, and language. Today, gazing upon the Saw Mill River, I wondered if I hadn’t been alone, if someone was with me, would they have been as immersed in the gentle rumble of these quick shallow rapids as I was? And what of previous shared experiences – do we remember them similarly? If we both/all recall the event, are the same or different features highlighted in memory? How did we interpret it at the time, and has that interpretation become more fixed and rigid, or has it softened, becoming more fluid with the expanded lens of hindsight?
At any junction history stretches back, a biographical momentum that imbues each person with impetus for being in the present moment of shared spacetime. Until the moment of meeting, each person is on an independent course – a course shaped by previous relationships and experiences but as yet unaffected by the now-unfolding encounter. What will come from contact is unpredictable, yet not beyond the ken of knowledge, intuition, and intention. What do we want to result from mutual exposure, from the mixing of our life trajectories?
Upon return to Amherst I stumbled into another beginning – a friend’s dream project, well underway. Could these two beginnings, initiated so close in time albeit on opposite sides of the Atlantic, complement each other? And if they could, what would be my role? I’ve been thinking (metaphorically, as I do) that I want to be part of a pile supporting bridges over deep water. I’m not “a” bridge, myself, and the support I can offer is insufficient of itself to keep any bridge aloft and protected from scour. But, perhaps, from the relative stability of my own perch . . . this web of inter-relations connecting mentors, colleagues, friends, professional contacts . . .
and meanwhile, as always, the river flows on.