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Reservoir of Interdependence

By Fred Marshall, M.D.

Icy pondWinter has come to Rochester. The slowly setting light fills the sky with a faint glow, amplified by the snow on the ground and the ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. Russet-rose fades to orange-yellow, pale blue, dark blue. Finally, black night blankets the low slung hills and the snowy tree tops.

This photograph is of the partially ice-covered reservoir that fills Rochester’s water pipes. Although it is atop one of the highest hills in town, its water is filled by gravity from a pristine lake at a higher elevation in the Bristol Hills, nearly 35 miles to our south.

Everywhere we look, nature and the built world remind us of our interdependence. As human beings, we breathe, we hunger, we fear, we love, we pass away. In the past four years, it seems that sometimes we share a common language. Sometimes we do not. Sometimes we have no language at all. Now and then, words swirl in our hearts. Now and then, we are without words entirely — perhaps in moments of sleep, or when the illusion of ourselves slips into a silent-sound, a darkness brilliant.

We can investigate our experience with curiosity, noticing our shifting sensations, noticing our shifting moods as we linger on this or that aspect of our journey, imagining what might have gone differently, anticipating a thousand futures. We can remind ourselves, again and again, that all that has come before has brought us here, collectively, to this moment.

What can we say of use?

We can say: Be kind to ourselves. Be kind to others. Be respectful of the reservoir of our interdependence.

Emma Strujo | 2/5/2021

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