Waitaminute… the reader says. Is this some kind if reincarnation thing? Are going to be subjected to an endless stream of hippy bullshit?

Well, no. I’ll get to the hippy’s all in good time sooner or later. For now we are talking about samsara, yes, but not in the way you think. Like all good and sticky ideas there is the popular version of what it means, and there’s the underlying truths. So I’m not exploring the idea that I’ve lived multiple lives. Going there becomes a little too fruity for my way of thinking. You know, we’ll start to wander into the realm of “belief”. I’m only interested in what I know. And I know I am the people who preceded me.

It’s not a belief structure because you don’t need to suspend credulity to understand how it works. You can see a child being born, and know that child wasn’t delivered by a stork or left under a cabbage leaf. We are each extensions of another life, and their lives wash through our bodies whether we know it or not.

So what of the field, the knife, the frightened boy? How is this evidence of samsara?

The field is where samsara is tested. The field is about choices, and how we make them within the patterns our bodies, our history, has laid out for us.

And the choices are everything. The define our legacy, and they set the course of our waters. Every person on that field made choices, as young as they were, to put them there. And, every person had choices made that effected why they were there. It’s the untangling them that is the mystery in life, and it is with the inevitable distance of time that we can see how these all interwove.

Take the friend for example, we couldn’t know where he would be 30 years from that day. But the seeds were sown. We were friends for years after the event, his defence of my actions an important part of the fallout. And his life has always been a yardstick for me in the transformation of a person in the passing of time, in the slow, lazy progress of the river.

When we were young he was known as the go-getter. He was all action; fit, healthy, knew where he wanted to be. He took life by the scruff of the neck and took what he needed from it. But somewhere this changed. Somewhere along the line he became less like the person his parents had made him, and less like the person the world around him understood him as.

You see, set upon the waters of his own life my friend was pushed to deny what he was. His attitude to life didn’t always sit right with the way people around us wanted him to be. He was called “too much” or “too big”. And so my friend chose to change over time, he suppressed his energy to better fit in, and to better be what was expected of him. He became more of what people wanted. I blame his decline on that.

A heart attack, 36, leaving a wife and three children.

I never thanked him for the way he defended me all those years ago, and I regret it deeply. He stuck by me the way a friend should, and I regret not helping him make choices to avoid the fate he sailed towards. My not defending his right to be who he was helped nudge him away from his true course. And it is with his death I must finally tell this, my own, story.