Strolling by the shore I watch
slow waves write a calligraphy of light
refracted down to the sandy bottom
eddies make mottled movement
of shadows in the shallows.
I round a corner and am dazzled
by dancing sparkles, splinters and shards of light.
I pause to ponder how humankind have lived
beside oceans, river, lakes since earliest times,
at first curious and confused
by these moving sights,
but hungry and searching for fish,
snails,crabs, anything soft within the shell, edible.
Learning to trust water's bounty,
learning too its dangers.
One day Lao Tzu, so I've read,
sat by the river that had run there
longer than memory.
He was struck by a spark of thought --
that river was not the river
he sat by yesterday.
Yesterday's water was far away,
he had never seen this water before.
The river looked the same,
light played the familiar tricks
but it set off different shadows and shards.
Nothing was the same.
He could never step again into yesterday's river.
Lao Tzu was different yesterday,
the sky had different clouds,
the air blew a different breeze.
All was changed, changing, change.
Change the only constant.
He drew words on aspen bark,
despite relentless change
the words remain.
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