I spent the afternoon in a park by the river in Hastings-on-Hudson, a town I had never been to before despite living most of my life in places within 40 minutes of it.
I took in the sights and sounds of this unfamiliar place. I sat on rocks and took in the view. I sat in quiet contemplation. I took photographs of the sunlight dancing on the water.
And I journaled. For over an hour, my fingers moved on the keyboard of my iPad as insights flowed through me.
I wrote such good stuff. And when I went to retrieve it later from my DayOne journal app, I discovered that it was gone.
In switching between my iPhone and iPad, somehow it got overwritten.
A period of creative output was simply erased. As if it never happened.
It sucks. It’s devastating. Disappointing.
There’s no way I can recreate what I wrote earlier. It channeled through me in a moment of flow.
I was capturing my experience in the moment, as it was happening. Describing what I saw and heard and the scene around me.
I could try to reflect back and write it again from memory, but it wouldn’t be the same.
The words would be different. I don’t even remember all that came through me.
You can’t recreate the past. You can’t recapture a moment. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. It will never be the same again.
A rational part of me knows that this is life. This is the lesson of this season. Of fall, of the Sukkot holiday.
This is the law of impermanence.
Nothing lasts forever.
Perhaps the experience and what came through me wasn’t meant to be captured and conveyed in words.
Perhaps it wasn’t meant to be shared.
Perhaps it was meant for me to have the experience of being there and writing and then being present.
What matters is not what I wrote or what I produced but that I engaged in the process.
I went to the park by the river and I wrote about my sensory experience. I wrote ideas that came through me.
I connected with myself. That’s what’s important.
This is all true. And also not the full story.
Rationalizing it in this way — It was meant to be. There’s a different purpose here — is a form of spiritual and intellectual bypassing.
I sat down and did the emotional labor of creating. What I wrote got erased in the mysterious workings of web servers.
There is a loss here.
It’s ok to feel the loss. Not just ok. Necessary. Necessary to feel it and to grieve it.
That is also a lesson of this season.
loss is part of life
nothing will last forever
you’re allowed to grieve