I’ve made it a mantra to pay attention to the sky. Right now I lean on nature and the call to tilt my gaze outside and acknowledge the universal is essential to my well-being. Watching the unfolding of the sun in the morning and how the clouds choose their child’s pose is much more than looking at a beautiful landscape, but witnessing time’s passage as it happens. I captured this sunset yesterday evening and it only lasted a few moments. After five minutes the sky darkened, the colors blending into the whole. It is as if the brilliance disappeared, like a well-executed magic trick.

Witnessing the transience of time is often so startling it hurts in my marrow. As a little girl, I remember occupying a blue arm chair in my childhood living room. The comforting sound of Bollywood music played on the radio, the house smelled like it always did, with lentils, cumin and curry simmering and my mom and dad talking near our solid, but worn wooden dining table. In my youth, I somehow thought, this was my life forever. There were several times I’d tell my parents, “I am never going to get married because I want to live with you guys for the rest of my life.”  The innocence of this comment is a product of youth and what I knew at that point of my life, the definition of transience not a part of my vernacular.

I am not certain when I leaned that transience is life or life is transient. Perhaps it was when my grandmothers died or when I found out my father was terminally ill or when I married or gave birth to our daughter. The constant fluctuations, the shifts in my small and big moments empower and frighten me. The simultaneous occurrence of these diametrically opposite emotions makes it hard to keep my balance, a constant state of metaphorical vertigo.

How do I keep centered, knowing every good moment passes into the ether? I become more present, sinking into the laughter, the glee, the camaraderie of a good book, family time and of course that moment my eyes meet the sky. I am aware how quickly the spindle spins in different directions, speeding up and slowing down, either titling toward joy or melancholy. The glory of knowing that every single emotion is temporary is one that comforts in joy and centers in sadness.

Sometimes, fully immersed in my life, I forget that what I am experiencing will pass. I remember again by looking up, hands joined, wondering what the sky will do next. Never the same sunrise or sunset. Always transient and impermanent. And this reminds me to Stop. Pause. Pay attention.