It rained most of the day yesterday and the downpour lasted through the night. I fell asleep to the patter of rain on the boathouse roof — something I haven’t heard much of this summer. The hot sunny days of July were beautiful and seemed endless, yet they went by in a flash. In a way, my life seems to be a reflection of this summer. So many magical moments that I try to savour, hoping they will last forever, and yet the time passes all too quickly.
It seems like only a few weeks ago that my twin brother and I were 10 years old, dreaming that the neighbour’s pond was an ocean and our raft a boat we were sailing to exotic lands. I remember another morning long ago when we woke up after a winter ice storm and found everything, from the trees in the apple orchards to the toboggan resting against the side of the house, covered in a thick layer of ice. I can still feel the excitement we felt then, and the wonder, and the way our hearts raced at the sight of the ice gleaming off the frozen fields. It was as if our world had changed entirely and every inch of it needed to be rediscovered. We imagined ourselves arctic explorers and spent the day crossing dangerous terrain. I go back to these moments and remember the joy, the beauty, and the wonder. I haven’t lost my ability to feel the moments, but I no longer seem to be able to imagine myself as someone else.
I remember the way my brother was as a child. We both loved to build things, but he had a way of changing the world with his imagination. A snow fort became an igloo that we had to build quickly to save ourselves from the coming snow storm; a race home from the bus stop turned into a race for our lives because a pack of wolves was on our tail and would tear us to shreds if we stopped running. We went from two kids hanging in the upper branches of a tree while a summer thunderstorm blew us to and fro, to sailors being blown about in a north Atlantic gale. I now wonder why he never went into writing stories, as his imagination still seems much more vivid than mine ever was.
As I watch my son stand for the first time I feel joy far deeper than anything that my youthful imagination could have generated. I realise now that I also used my imagination to gain a sense of control over my life in order to make the ever-changing world a little less frightening. But at some point over the years I stopped trying to shape the world to my needs and instead learned to embrace the changes that life threw my way. I began to feel joy in the moments as they came to me. The real world generates deeper feelings than I could have dreamed possible in my youth. I wonder if I will feel even more deeply when I’m 80? It’s as if the more I’ve learned, the more meaningful reality has become.
It all comes back to savouring the real moments that make life wondrous. I suppose that is why the truth is so important. I know now that life will be short and perilous and at times full of sadness, so it seems all the more important to make every moment of it count and to take care that the magical moments don’t get lost, forgotten or missed.
I remember the night that Greg and I were married. Our wedding song came on (Never Saw Blue Like That by Shawn Colvin) and instead of dancing, my husband and I handed roses to every woman in the room. That was a huge magical moment. The song is about seeing the world differently, seeing the colour blue differently for the first time in your life, because someone else has made you look at life from a different perspective. We wanted our friends and family to understand that our love was like that. We married because we wanted to see a more expansive world than our single lives allowed us to have. I will always remember the way Greg looked into me and whispered the last line of the song “I never saw blue like that…”
Then there are the smaller moments that often get overlooked but still offer a sense of joy and wonder… the taste of a fresh peach or the smell of an orange being peeled. It is so easy to take these moments for granted in this world of newer, bigger, better and more, more, more.
I just got my son off to sleep. He’s still at the stage where he falls to sleep while I feed him his bottle. I sing to him as he rests in my lap with his soft hair tickling my chin. There is a peacefulness that we share, a happiness to hold and be held – the bond between mother and child. I’ll store this moment in my memory and save it for when he’s a teenager and disappears with my car and his girlfriend for the weekend.
Then there are the moments that I have with my husband that are etched into my memory. The feel of his hand on my skin, the way he smiles across a crowded room at me, the way he explores the world around him and can find joy in almost anything. I think of how he describes savouring a dish he had in Africa . He always describes it the same way and each time I hear him tell it I watch him savour the moment and try to share it with others. He doesn’t want newer, bigger, or more — he knows that one small experience can be better than a mountain of gold. He values the truth as much as I do because he understands that magical moments don’t come from our imagination or a creative story.
Magical moments come from real experiences that matter, experiences that can be savoured and held with respect, experiences that make life worth living.