It had been a long, arduous day after a short night. For the second time yesterday, I turned the car homewards from my son’s place. Only to be met by the road closure that meant yet another detour, cross country for miles, in order to get the few yards beyond the barriers that led to home and coffee. I had been caught with it the night before too, and determined to go a different route than the one proposed by the detour, catering for larger vehicles and a greater volume of traffic than my one small car. I know the backroads well.
Heading vaguely westwards as the dusk crept in I watched the changing canvas of the horizon, shifting through the delicate pastel kaleidoscope of sunset. The beauty of it was stunning. I pulled over, found a stile to sit on and waited, just watching.
For those few minutes, only the sky and I existed in the whole wide world. Troubles and worries ceased to be, extremes faded away, even I seemed to recede into nothingness. I was just a point of consciousness lost in beauty.
Swallows darted across vision chasing supper, their aerial grace silhouetting an appropriate punctuation to the soft beauty unfolding above the horizon. There was little left of thought, just that vague awareness of being aware and the almost automatic click of the camera.. at least to begin with. I did not capture the final blaze of glory… by then I was lost in space and colour.
It lasted only minutes, yet fed my soul like a banquet.
For those moments I was alone with the setting sun in a world full of light, vivid and alive. They were moments that can only happen once in a lifetime. That sunset was born wrapped in the softest of shades, holding the crescent of the moon and passed from the world in a blaze of molten gold, never to be seen again. It is gone and will never return. There will be other sunsets, other moonrises… but not that one.
As the darkness closed in and I was again behind the wheel of the car, I could not help thinking how easily I could have missed those few gifted moments of utter beauty. Had there not been a crisis at my son’s… had there not been a road closure… had I headed a different way, where the horizon was veiled in buildings and trees… or if I had not chosen to look beyond the windscreen and the road ahead and my need to get home, not stopped the car and got out, simply speeding home with no vision of the world around me…
How much we must miss of what life can offer us by that fixation upon what we think we see, or need, or must do. Being open to the world and what is here, now… the gifted beauties of a moment that, like a sunset, will never come again.
What happens now will never happen again. Miss it once and we miss it forever… let the moment slip through our fingers and it will never return… not this one, not this moment.
Our days and nights are made of moments, strung together like pearls and equally precious, yet we don’t notice them, waste them, make them wait for ‘one day’… and they cannot wait, any more than we can turn the clock back… and we wonder why the beauty is no longer there when we look for it.
Our moments in this world are finite. Eventually, they run out. I want to get to my last moment knowing I finally learned how to live them. Every one of them.