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The Future is Implied

“It takes time for an acorn to turn into an oak, but the oak is already implied in the acorn.” – Alan Watts

January is a funny month. Plans for the year generally completed, we look at the climb ahead and take our first steps into the unknown. Where will it take us? What will we accomplish? How will the world change these grand plans we’ve wrestled with in our minds and on spreadsheets? How exactly are things going to play out?

The future is implied by our actions today. We turn plans into action one step at a time, one toe in the water, one conversation after another, one moment to the next. And in each step, we discover the truth about the world.

I look back a year and laugh at the plans dashed against the rocks in the COVID storm. We all had to bushwhack when the path washed away last year. Extreme, to be sure, but it demonstrated the nature of plans. They do change.

Words we used too much in 2020 included adapt and pivot and new normal. What words will we use in 2021? 2022? What is implied by the trends we see in the world? What is implied by our daily habits? We might not see everything in the future but we can surely see the path we’ve set ourselves upon.

I wonder sometimes at the future, but it isn’t mine to ponder. Plans are made and revised, such that they can be. Focus on the first step, small as it might seem in the moment. And go.

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