The Schrödinger’s River

Both passable and impassable until we get there

There’s one particular spot in yamabushi training you have to ford a river to get to. Over the past decade or so, that river has only been crossable once or twice. It got to the point that only yamabushi who had done the training years back had ever been there. Every year we eagerly wait until we get to the river. Will we be able to cross? Will it be another year?

Like a Schrödinger’s cat, that river is both passable and impassable until we get there. Of course, if it’s been raining, or if we expect rain, we have more of an idea, but it’s really no use thinking too much into it. If you go there, you go there. If you don’t, well, you don’t.

You can get your hopes up for sure, but there’s always something in the back of your head that holds you back. But then again, you may be able to get there! Either way, it is a good lesson in not simply acceptance, but acceptance at the right time.

If you accept things as a foregone conclusion before even getting to the river, and give up on it, you’ll be bitterly disappointed if you find out you were wrong. Best to wait until you get to the river and see for yourself.



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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan

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