It’s said you can’t step into the same river twice, largely due to the movement of the water moving along at speed. Though you may step in the same place, it’s not the same water you touch. Here the thing with water in rivers. It’s never clean, never pure, there is always more to it. It continues collecting and re-depositing its contents endlessly until there is no motion from the current. How the river is shaped relies on flows and cuts through the landscape, based on where it finds erosion more challenging or leaves deposits. This creates layer upon layer along the bed, and just past the points the water has yet to cut.
When oysters make pearls, the starting point is a parasite or an irritant. The oyster creates layers of beauty encapsulating threat. Pearls result from a beautiful protection mechanism. References to pearls of wisdom perhaps gives a deeper significance in context of how they too are formed, in response to a threat/ risk/ irritant as part of a beautiful protection mechanism.
Look at the accretions found by stepping into metaphorical rivers – the people/ culture/ location/ circumstances leave layers on you each time you step in.
Conversely, you leave trace deposits each time you touch those people/ cultures/ locations/ circumstances. What happened may be water under, but those traces remain and will be part of the sediment layers. Those layers will be comprised of millions of steps into the river by millions of people at different times, all leaving their small deposit with each.
Much like oysters, pearl steps are the layers of learning and growth individuals accumulate in the river over time. In some cases the layers were in response to something undesirable, in all they make up who you’ve come to be. Regardless each such layer is accretive in the professional and personal value of an individual sometimes even on a daily basis.
Shouldn’t all the steps you take in the river be beautiful? Likewise shouldn’t we cultivate better appreciation of how value accretes in persons, teams, organisations?