Wednesday, June 02, 2010

WOW Moments

 You wake up early and the rising sun is shining through your window. Tiny little dust motes do the dance of life in the light beams and the silence is so loud you can hear it. Then a cardinal pipes his song from a nearby tree and the silence wavers a little. You hold your hand to the light and see the blood pulse through the network of delicate veins just beneath your skin. The silence and the song and the sight of your own lifeblood throbbing come together in a moment of intense awareness and you think, WOW!

How can a day be ordinary after that?

We think of our days as commonplace, but we’re mistaken. When we really look closely, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. I clasp my early morning mug of tea in my hands and think of two other hands that held raw clay and shaped it into the cup I now hold. I think of the discoveries that led to firing and glazing; I think beyond the mug to the tea in it. What I drink so often (and so often heedlessly) was once an integral part of a living plant growing somewhere on a hillside a continent away. We are linked by the commonplace. Can we not see that as remarkable?

I have a friend who is hiking the Appalachian Trail for the first time. She’s never pushed herself to walk more that a few miles, never spent more than a few hours totally immersed in natural surroundings, never spent a night in the woods by herself. Now she climbing higher than she’s ever done and the view of her surroundings takes her breath away. “It was there all the time,” she says, but now when she climbs a peak, turns a corner, looks out over vast tracts of unpopulated forest and woodland, “It’s like, WOW!”

We need to do more than just stop and smell the roses. We need to immerse ourselves in moments, recognize our time here for what it is – brief and irretrievable – and celebrate the WOW moments often.

“I can’t,” you say. “I can’t ooh and aahh my way through life. I’d never get anything done.”

But, I say what we do now is only half done if we can’t make the moment count, if it isn’t considered a miracle. What is time but a string of moments, some noticed, some lost in the rush as we hurry to get things done? It doesn’t take much time to listen to a bird sing, to watch leaves rustle in the wind, to feel the warmth of a sunbeam, to join in a child’s laughter. What better thing would you be doing with that fraction of a moment?

I saw a Baltimore Oriole the other day. I haven’t seen one here in years but suddenly, there in the brush at the side of the road was a brilliant orange bird. It lifted into the air and glided across the meadow grasses like a bit of colored glass. “WOW!” I breathed, enchanted. The image lingered for hours, making me draw in my breath and smile each time I thought of it.

All our days are made up of such moments. All of them are WOWs. We just need to pay attention.


Reya Mellicker said...

I totally agree. 100%. Pay attention and suddenly the world is full of wonder.

I feel sorry for people who think that miracles are something that happened long ago. Miracles happen every day - you just have to pay attention!

Beautiful post.

Brian Miller said...

love those moments...and wonder how many we miss each day. miracles do still happen...all the time.

i have hiked and camped (in just a sleeping bag) on the AT...

Hilary said...

Wow, indeed. Nicely said. I'm discovering more and more of these WOW moments ever since I became interested in photography. Great post, Pauline.

Roberta S said...

A so lovely bit of prose...although I think maybe one's life is almost too intricate when "dust motes are doing the dance of life". But, honestly Pauline, I wouldn't have you for a friend any other way.

I laugh now when I mop up dust motes or see them drifting in a sunbeam. You have raised them almost, but not quite, to the status (and beauty) of a snowflake.

Meggie said...

So true Pauline. The most simple momments can take our breath away, but the memory will last forever.

20th Century Woman said...

Yes, it's true. We should notice the wonderful world we live in.

Nishant said...

so lovely bit of prose
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