It was dusk in the deep summer—the air was perfect enough for both windows to be rolled down the whole way.
We sailed along a ribbon of tar and chip stone, winding between meadows and cornfields.
My 15-year-old rode shotgun.
I shouted over the wind that tousled our hair and tickled our arms, “How well can you hear into the future?”
My son looked at me, a bit confused but not entirely surprised, as he does when I ask these kinds of questions. He didn’t respond. Instead, he stretched his arm into an airfoil.
I repeated, “How well can you hear words that have not yet been spoken?”
He playfully scooped and swept the wind, “I can’t.”
I continued, “How well can you hear what was said in the past?”
He retracted his arm and turned to face me, the green glow from the dashboard washing his now serious countenance.
“Dad, I can remember things that were said.”
I followed, “Very well. Of those things you remember, which are the clearest? Those things that were said a long time ago, or those things that were said most recently?”
Curious and uncertain, he responded, “Most recently.”
I got to my point, “Wouldn’t you agree—when considering the future and the past—you hear the most clearly those things that I am saying right now?”
He nodded, “Of course.”
I added, “And what about what you see? What you touch? What you feel? All the clearest right now, yes?”
As he gazed upon the deepening evening sky, I went on to explain that we are designed to experience our world through our senses.
I swept my hand across the horizon, presenting the unfolding sunset as a gift—because it was.
I offered that our senses are most acute in the now, and so our world is best experienced in the now.
I asked him to remember that notion—whenever he feels overwhelmed, whenever he cringes at reliving something from the past or whenever he worries himself sick over an uncertainty of the future.
I told him it is like looking into a stream, the images bent in its refraction, compressing what we see into something that isn’t really as close or as big as we perceive.
I told him we are creatures designed to consume infinity one second at a time.
And I left it at that.
We ogled the stars as we devoured the miles—silently, but with majesty—observing the distance and recognizing our slow crawl beneath them.
We sighed, content, as the wind tousled our hair and tickled our arms.
During the second that ticks—in which we are aware—are we not in complete equilibrium?
Are not our anxieties and fears found only when we consider the next moment or regret the last?
Author: Ray Helinski
Apprentice Editor: Kelly Chesney/Editor: Yoli Ramazzina