Heraclitus was a Greek philosopher, famous for his argument that change is constant and everything in the world is always changing. The quote illustrates how things that seem constant to us are actually undergoing change.
When we look at a river, we see a single entity that has always been there and always will. A river seems to be almost symbolic of something that does not change. But, as Heraclitus says, it really isn’t possible to say that the river remains the same. The river is constantly changing and is, in effect, not the same river.
If you step in a river, you are stepping in a specific bit of water. If you withdraw your foot and step in it again, you are stepping in a different bit of water. Just by stepping in the river, you have changed it. You have altered the course of the water a little bit and eroded the river bed a little bit. The river is always changing and therefore, it is never the same.
We can look at people in the same way. We may seem to be the same person today that we were last week, but we have been changed in some way by our experiences.
I feel that every time I step into the river, to paddle or clear out debris for clear passage….I’m forever changed. There’s something quite gratifying in nurturing the waterways, knowing that we’re making an impact for the safety of our paddling community and outdoor enthusiasts.
The RIVER RANGERS™ get to witness change occurring every time we invite volunteers to participate in our cause. We watch their intent slowly change from paddling to passion, as they begin to realize the difference we’re making. A simple “Thank You” from a paddler passing by, can change a person as much as their foot altering the current beneath.
Something similar can be said about, fallen trees and other debris that create strainers and hazards in rivers and streams, especially below the surface. Even if change is slow,…so slow that we can’t see it with our naked eyes,…it still exists, always.
And as Heraclitus so accurately predicted….so did we.