Sunday, October 12, 2014


Beginnings & Endings, Wrightsville Beach, NC

I’ve observed that the timing for many endings in life is quite predictable. For instance, movies will generally end within two hours. Most timed sporting events will end within the specified time period unless there is a short overtime period which resolves the outcome. Elections are generally decided within hours after the polls close with the exception of those races that are too close to call. Weather forecasters are now very accurate in predicting the exact time that the sun goes down to end the day. The weekend will end on Sunday night most weeks with the exception of Monday holidays that extend our personal time off from two to three days. Photography is all about defining the beginning and ending of an image through the view finder.

But the timing for the ending of other events can be very unpredictable. Major events like a world war or our very lives do not have predictable endings. They may be short lived or go on for decades. Some activities can be an integral part of our normal lives such as driving our child to school or saying good bye to friends and loved ones as we part for the day. The three thousand souls who left for work on September 11, 2001 did not have a clue that all their lives would end that day. Neither did the people who wished them a good day. The thousands of people who arrive at work each day generally do not suspect that it may be their last day on the job where they have been working for decades. Parents who kiss their children good night or drop them off at school are one day confronted with the realization that they don’t do this anymore. The day may come when your spouse looks up and no longer smiles to acknowledge you after years of togetherness.

We can’t stop the earth from spinning or freeze time in place. We can’t put an end to endings. The destiny of all beginnings in this life is inextricably connected to endings. Actually, that’s not all bad, e.g., a trip to the dentist can’t end too soon. We just need to pause life occasionally and recognize that although an event has become a routine part of our existence, there will be an ending. And we need to appreciate and savor each experience as if it may be the ending this time, because we don’t always recognize that an event was the last one of its kind until much later when there are no more.

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