Saturday, July 3, 2010

On An Especially Clear Day

A couple of weeks ago during a break while doing more canning, I laid down on a bench in the backyard (I thought it would feel good on my back, and I was right). No sooner did I open my eyes when I very nearly gasped out loud, my breath caught in my throat. The sky overhead was so clear and blue and there was a patterned veil of little clouds draped across the middle distance. It looked like lacy white bubble-wrap (the kind with the big bubbles). It's probably futile to even attempt to describe the sensation I experienced, but I have to try, if only to remind myself of it later. The sky seemed... endless. It pretty much is endless, infinite and all, but everything was so clear... it actually felt endless... and I could see all of it with a clarity that my near-sighted eyes could only dream of.*

As I lay there, a Barn Swallow flew across my dome of sky in an arc, from left to right, east to west, splitting the immense depth I was struggling to take in. Another one followed shortly after, just as dazzlingly sharp as the first. It wasn't until today that I suddenly thought of that funny old saying, "One Swallow does not make a summer". It makes more sense to me now.

Moments like these are gifts. They are keenly focused and feel like time has slowed down, just for emphasis... so you notice... quickly before it starts up again. They are gifts of time stilled, but not frozen; combining all the senses into one perfect split second. In the exact right place at the exact right time, you see something that no one else around you even notices. Babies giggle nearby, birds chatter in the distance, a song drifts out of a passing car. There's the smell of rain on pavement, or ocean salt on a soft breeze when you can't even see the sea. But when you experience all of it at once! Layers of input, that all gel together and make your breath catch from the complex perfection of it. And then it's gone. Gone but for the glow of it.**
Um, this is supposed to be a food blog, right? Yep. So... make these World Peace Sable cookies from Dorie Greenspan. They will open up all kinds of new and amazing levels of chocolate consciousness. Disclaimer: I may or may not have been under the influence of these very cookies while writing this post.
Truly gifts are these magic moments.***  But not really as rare as we might think. With eyes and hearts open, I think we will see that they are all around us. Sometimes all it takes is for us to simply stop. Just for a moment.

*The answer is: Except for the occasional Ibuprofen for muscle aches and pains, no, I am not on any medication... prescribed or otherwise.
**I am reminded of  the scene in the movie Amelie, where she walks with the blind man and puts into words all of the sights that go along with the smells and sounds that he's experiencing as he walks by them. After she leaves him at the Metro, he literally glows with a look of completeness, as if for that brief time he saw everything more clearly than if he had seen it with his own eyes. Great scene. Great movie.

***Perry Como (he of the smooth and so comfortable voice) had a hit with the song Magic Moments: "Time can't erase the memory of these magic moments filled with love.."
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