The most fascinating things happen in the depth of the night when the entire world seems to sleep. As an insomniac, I have a unique outlook on the world. While many people fear the dark, I find it a friend. When it is the middle of the night and I step outside, separating myself from the confines of four walls, a roof, and artificial light, the stars shine just for me, the clouds wave and the wind rushes to welcome me outside with a hug. The absolute silence of the night sky is a stark contrast to the frantic sunshine abundant during the day. With daylight, plants rush to grow, people rush to work, animals rush to frolic, and by the end of the day the sun is so exhausted from watching over the world, it gratefully slips to sleep. At night, time seems to diminish, the world breathes deep in relaxation, and the stars giggle with childlike innocence while keeping track of the anonymous night dwellers.
One night while on a camping trip and everyone excluding myself was asleep, I decided to climb a tree to watch the peaceful river ramble past. The stars reflected in the river’s surface mirrored a serenity I had been seeking within myself. I was perched in a tree, on a limb unfolding for the other side of the river with all its energy, when I had a revelation. When you throw a rock into a river, what happens? The rock is a catalyst; the surface ripples from the rock’s point of entry. The ripples begin with brevity, but rapidly flourish in number and size, eventually encompassing the entire surface of the water, until gradually they cease and fade, leaving nothing but a memory. The rock, however, is still at the bottom of the river. The memory is not a lone survivor. All the water that will pass over the rock will be affected by it. Although the river may appear to remain unchanged, it has been forever altered due to the addition of the rock.
Life works in much the same way. I meet someone, I have an effect on that person and they have an effect on me. A teacher, for example, will teach a class and each student will take a memory of that teacher with him or her. The memory is a new addition to the student, thus the student has been changed. The student will interact with other people, spreading the teacher’s effect. This happens constantly with everyone, even if no one is aware of it. Certain people persist to stick in your memory. They are the rock and not simply a ripple. Those are the people I ponder in the middle of the night, as I lay awake thinking about my day and allowing memories to bubble to the surface of my thoughts, forging a change within me. Their actions, words or ideas linger and alter me. I hope to be one of those people who persist in creating a memory. I hope that as I ripple through life throwing myself into various rivers I will inspire others to realize their uniqueness as a rock and as a ripple. I hope that they will realize they have the power to forever change the lives of those around them. “You must be the change you seek to see in the world.” –Gandhi