Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Reflections: Raindrops in a Puddle

Over the weekend, I stood in the rain, waiting for a bus. I watched raindrops fall into a puddle, and thought:

In the briefest of moments, a raindrop hits the water and disappears into the puddle, sending a ripple racing out across the surface. Try to imagine how the raindrop feels just before the moment of impact. Racing down from the clouds, speeding towards an enormous, unavoidable collision. That raindrop is stressed. Anxiety city, man.

There have been far too many times in my life when I have felt like that plummeting raindrop. Alone, afraid, unable to change course, speeding ahead towards an explosive collision.

This is a mind-bogglingly foolish and short-sighted attitude. The raindrop is afraid because it falls from the clouds towards an unknown surface. But the moment of impact is not the end. Rather, it is the raindrop's finest hour. The raindrop falls alone from the clouds- it cannot touch any other drops, except by pure chance. But at the moment it hits the puddle, that raindrop sends out ripples that pass over everydrop of water in the puddle.

It is in the moment of collision, the point of greatest stress, when we have the greatest opportunity to make a difference, to change the lives of those around us- for good or ill. There's an old saying that the Chinese character for "crisis" is the character for "danger" combined with "opportunity." Danger and opportunity-- those are what the raindrop faces as it makes contact. The opportunity to create change only comes when we ourselves are prepared to change-- the raindrop can't make ripples without hitting the water.

And just in case I haven't beat this metaphor into the ground yet, the moment of contact with the puddle is not the end of the raindrop's existence. After falling, the raindrop joins the puddle, from which it eventually flows into a river and down to the sea, where it evaporates into a cloud and the whole cycle begins anew. The few seconds of falling are only a tiny, tiny, part of the total existence of that water droplet.

But it's hard to remember being part of the sea when you're falling from the clouds.

So step back. Sometimes, perspective is everything.


Blogger Wurm42 said...

Two notes on this post:

1) Just for the record, I don't think that all philosophy or spirituality is tied up with rain. It's just been raining around here lately. A LOT. I am very open to experimenting with deep thinking on sunny tropical beaches, preferably someplace with frozen drinks available.

2) So far as I can discern, the image used in this post is in the public domain. If you are (or represent) the copyright holder of any image displayed on this blog and believe that the presence of said image falls outside the guidelines of fair use, please contact me immediately.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can I come with you Wurm? I could use a gallon or so of some girly drink with umbrellas and possible flames.
And you forgot to leave a number for anyone to contact you at.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Slyeyes said...

Interesting perspective. Of course, I have an unreasonable fear of heights, so if I were the raindrop, I would be screaming my bloody lungs out. HOWEVER, I love water, diving, etc. so I would be slap happy after impact.


Did I have a point?

Probably not. I'm going to go get a girly drink.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Kafaleni said...

Wow... deep, man!


2:37 PM  
Blogger neophyte said...

*checks puddle* yep, it's deep!
*backs up and runs full tilt, to cannonball screaming into the puddle* Now THAT is what I call making ripples!

4:03 PM  

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