Waterways have always painted brilliant the shadows of my life. I have loved every one of them, each for a different reason. The Mississippi River and Bay St. Louis framed the instability of my childhood, while travel to bodies of water on four continents shaped the wanderlust of my adulthood. So many of my memories were created near bodies of water….and sleepy Bayou DeSiard offered more of these pearls of time for me to cache.
Bayou DeSiard winds its way through the city of Monroe, Louisiana. It’s not like the Ouachita River, which separates the “Twin Cities” of West Monroe and Monroe. No, it’s more like the Mississippi River who gently divides the city of New Orleans into two – what locals call the East Bank and the West Bank; or the Seine, who lovingly divides Paris into the Rive Droite and the Rive Gauche.
I recently spent the evening with friends on this enchanting bayou. The entire experience was a reminder that time is fleeting, that people enter and depart one’s life as inconspicuously as the bayou ebbs and flows against the shore. Normally, I’m one of those people who is unaware of life while I’m living it. Does this unawareness mean that I am not completely alive in the moment, and thus missing some part of the experience?
Or does it mean the opposite – that I am unaware of it precisely because I exist fully in the moment?
I can never tell because sometimes when I am aware of how privileged a moment is, it becomes tinged with sadness because I know that it will end. And other times I am unaware of a perfect moment until I am looking back on it and wondering if I savored it enough while it was happening.
I suppose, like anything else in life, awareness is bittersweet. As the evening unfolded, friends told me that they were moving away. I was made aware that this may be the last time I would ever see them, so I was able to appreciate the moment. Yet, I knew the evening was finite, so my appreciation was shrouded in regret.
Everything is finite. Except maybe sometimes it’s not.