Reading’s sorrow

One of the sweetest sensations that I’ve come across thus far is a good story. Nothing can take and hold my attention like a compelling narrative. But inevitably, stories, like all things, must come to an end. We forget this sometimes: moments are momentary. Here, then gone. We cannot capture them, hold them, imprison them, no matter how hard we try and no matter the form they take. 

Reading a good book reminds me of this. First, I find joy in the experience. But soon after, there is sadness because I know that the joy I experience is finite, bounded. Perhaps this is the price of a mindful existence? If mindfulness provides us with a fuller experience, it also provides us with a fuller understanding. By enabling us to better notice what we gain, it also enables us to better notice what is lost. Each new moment is both a treasure and a treasure forfeited.

This is reading’s sorrow, and, I suppose, the true sorrow of life; we inhabit each moment only once.