Excerpt from Out-Going

Immortality, my favorite book by Milan Kundera, opens with an older woman waving to her swimming instructor from across the pool. The narrator observes this in awe, as he recognizes something else, a quality to that wave of the hand, that doesn't seem to belong to this far from charming woman, but perhaps to someone he feels he knows already, even though they had never met. I read this when I was in the army. It was the first time the thought crossed my mind that maybe the qualities that I think I own and which make me ME, are in fact their own independent entities. Perhaps more so than I am. And maybe I am possessed by them rather than they being owned or used by me. In other words, this charming wave of the hand decided to go out and play in the world today, and its channel happened to be a particular woman. Tomorrow, she might try to replicate that moment, but this gorgeous presence will have moved on by then, finding other vessels through which to celebrate its autonomous beauty.