Monday, March 18, 2013

On the Mainstream and Tributaries

Fish swimming down a river are all going in the same direction. We are living beings coasting through existence toward a parallel end--death. Like salmon traveling upstream to spawn and perish, we follow along the routine path toward our final destination.  While segments of this stream may branch off into smaller tributaries and lead to slightly altered versions of the same thing--whether that be landing in a puddle of muck and suffocating in flapping gills or being crushed against rocks or pulled up by fishing nets--we end in death. The destination is fixed and final and only our means of getting there is what deviates on the individual level. Each journey is a story to be documented, although in the end it is the all the same book, just with lightly altered covers. Bound or unbound, we will end up as corpses on the shore and what will we have to show for it? The physical body is nothing in the end and no legacy can be traced into immortality. In order to achieve longevity we need a purpose, a meaningful reason to enjoy the deviations of tributaries. While we may bask in the waves of the mainstream like all the others, we can explore no individual pursuits when too afraid to take the side-stream or downplay those trying to avoid the current by labeling them as 'weird' or 'starved for attention.' We all need a chance to explore and take a side current, whether that be a daily ritual of personal expression or a lifestyle of homemade ambitions. Be sidestream. Not hipster, not flowing into the 'other' mainstream, but deviating into a winding tributary of unknown meanderings. Then embrace the end in open arms.

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