I was looking closely at a rain drop dangling from the point of a leaf the other day. I had been walking in the post rain sunshine and I saw it glistening, as clinging raindrops sometimes do when caught in nature’s spotlight. There were other raindrops hanging from other leaves, of course, but for some reason, something about the way it sparkled differently caught my attention. I am sure you have seen it – the way a single drop hangs from a leaf and at certain moments the sun reflects through it and it shines, separate from, but in the context of, all the others, like a polished crystal casting light of different colours in all directions. It really is one of nature’s wonders. I felt grateful to have noticed it.
Then as I was looking at it, it separated from the leaf and faster than I could follow, dropped to the ground. Gone; in a quick flash, in less time than the blink of an eye, in the infinitesimal shifting of the moment from “then” to “now”, it was and then it “was not”. Suddenly something went missing from my field of looking, like there was ever so briefly a little hole there, soon filled up with what was previously only background.
I stared for a few moments at where it was and then I looked down to where it had gone. But, of course, it was no where to be seen, dissolved and blended as it now was with the other wet on the grasses below where it had been. Merged in to the background.
Now, it is not like I was planning on, or should have been, doing anything with the raindrop. But I could have. I could have reached out when I first saw it and preserved it somehow for future use. I could have moved the leaf a little (carefully of course) to prevent it from dropping away. I could have captured it on film, recording it to revisit later. I could have done something more than just watch it disappear. But I didn’t. But like I said, that wasn’t my intention.
"And in some ways”, I thought as I moved away from that brief moment of noticing, “this is so much like what we do in our field; wander the territory noticing the minutia which catch our attention”.
And it seems to me that therapeutic moments can be just like that – one moment they seem to hang there, visible and available, and then they are gone. Passed from sight, never to return. I know there will be other therapeutic moments which come along, just as there were other raindrops hanging from other leaves, just as there will be multiple raindrops hanging after the next storm. But this one will never appear again.
Ideally in our work with young people and families, if this is the right moment we act, we do something. Because, if we don’t act on that moment then like that single raindrop it passes, drops from view, disappears, blends into the surrounding context and is gone.
And then, whether we act or do not, we move on in attendance for the next moment which arises in our flow of experiencing.