Reflecting in the Present

“When purple colored curtains mark the end of day
I’ll hear you, my dear, at twilight time”
– The Platters, Twilight Time

Piscataqua River

The sunset gets all the attention, and sure, when you have a western view at the right time of day you enjoy the show. I take great pains to see as many as I possibly can too. But my favorite Navy pilot reminded me long ago to turn around and see what was happening in the rest of the sky, and as we were offered a view of water and a glass of rum to celebrate Democracy in action last night we watched the sun setting on the Piscataqua River in Dover, New Hampshire. The windows on the opposite shore (in Eliot, Maine) suggested the sunset we were missing while we were looking east, but the night was calm, the rum was good and the company was exceptional.

Looking east at twilight offers something beautiful. It’s a look back on where you’ve been, even as the sun draws you over the western horizon. We can appreciate where we’ve been before, regret moments lost and mourn those we’ve lost. Alternatively, we can look ahead, ignoring where we’ve been before and barely acknowledging where we are now in our scramble to get somewhere else. But really, all we have is now. Here you are lingering in between; reflecting in the present.

The view in the present can be stunning or off-putting or maybe even monotonous at times, but its our view no matter what we think of it. We can learn from the past, build towards the future and slowly, incrementally change our present – moment-by-moment. Looking east, I reflect that what’s done is done. We did our best with the time we once had. Looking west, I eagerly plot a future I can only hope to arrive at. Reflecting in the present gives us a chance to reset. To pivot towards a better future, built off of who we once were and who we are now. And to celebrate the day we’ve been given even as we hope for a better tomorrow.

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