by Frank Pauc
This first appeared in Frank’s blog on November 20, 2020, as “Soap Bubbles.” It is republished here with the author’s permission.
A little blue machine cranks out soap bubbles as Weston watches. One after another, fragile spheres float upward. Their surfaces are iridescent in the sunshine. The two-year-old boy squats down and gazes intently at a bubble. He is fascinated by its shape and changing colors. Then it silently pops, and Weston looks carefully at the next ball of nothingness.
As an adult, I smile at Weston’s interest in soap bubbles. He is so enthralled with things that are both beautiful and ephemeral. He stares at one of the bubbles, but he is not obsessed with it. When it pops, it’s gone, and so is his attention span. He knows how to focus. He also knows how to let go.
I envy Weston. He’s in the moment. He doesn’t have much of a past, and his future is a mystery to him. Every day is a new adventure. Weston can’t say much, so he doesn’t get wrapped up in words. He understands some of what people tell him, but he does not know what a lie is. Not yet.
I went for a long walk a little before dawn. As I wandered past an empty field, I heard some twigs cracking in the brush. A doe leaped up. It saw me as it came back to earth. The deer’s ears twitched as she stared at me. I looked at her and waved. She stared a bit longer, and then she bolted into the oak trees.
As I walked back home, I saw the sunrise. A semi-circle of orange flame licked the bare branches on the tree line. It was gorgeous, and then it was gone. That image lasted only for an instant, and now it is barely a memory. The deer is only a memory. She is gone too.
I grieve for these things that are no more. Weston wouldn’t. He would just go on to the next marvelous thing to comes his way. He wouldn’t think about what has come and gone. He’d throw himself completely into whatever he is experiencing right now.
Below is a picture of Weston, my grandson and dharma teacher. The scene is from the past. It no longer exists. Weston is different now, and he is busy doing other things.
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