Experiences say a lot about a person. Where they’ve been, the things they’ve seen, the people they’ve known; all culminate into the path that brought them here, to the present. Where have I been? What have I seen?
In January 2013, I spent three weeks traveling New Zealand with a class from Elon University. As my one of my final experiences with Elon, and in a place that had captivated me for years, I was determined to discover more than just a picturesque island. Written on the 18th of January, the following passage brings alive my experience...
"On a particularly rainy day, passing through the Southern Alps, we stopped to see a waterfall. While waterfalls carved through every gap in the forest of New Zealand, we had only seen them in passing.
As if a long, white cloud, the water flowed gracefully, its misty form mixing with the light rain. Opposite the waterfall, a viewing platform had been erected, beneath it stairs which lead to a rocky shore. The strong and powerful boulders that sat there seemed impossible to move; yet once they had been high atop the mountain, only for now placed beside the river. Their journey, as with the rocks strewn about the glacier we had just hiked, intrigued me. Incredibly powerful forces had gradually brought them here, and yet in this static state, they were transient.
The class was gone. Alone, I was the only person on Earth currently viewing this waterfall. But just as with the boulders, I would have to move on. We ebb and flow, as carried by a river, from place to place, stopping for varying amounts of time to enjoy a scene before we carry on. Just as the water would eventually take the boulder down river, I felt the tug of obligation. I hurried to the bus, guilty for making the class wait; I yearned for more time beneath that waterfall, but no more was needed.
Without the pull of the river we can waste our whole lives on the banks, dormant. The powerful current, perhaps too quick at times, reminds us to enjoy the details that make each passing moment unique. But that boulder, as I, would let go of the banks and move down river, into the unknown."