I got a break between classes, so I went and did some exploring. Here on campus we have Hart House, a gray stone building wedged between Queen’s Park and University College.
Mostly I go there for the Arbour Room, a cafeteria with great food (salads, deli sandwiches, brownie deserts), jazz music, and comfy seating. But today I wandered around the upper levels, and I found a small library on one of the top floors. It was old–mahogany walls and carpeted floor, with diamondpane windows–and slightly dusty, and there were only a few students inside.
I ended up sitting in a huge leather chair, with a book of Emily Dickinson poetry, right next to the open window. It was sunshiny, a clear blue sky, and a warm breeze kept drifting in; below I could hear laughter and piano playing from downstairs.
There are more perfect moments than this, but I can’t remember them.
What are yours–tiny, insignificant, and perfect moments?
A granite boulder on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe.
I was sitting on top of that boulder, just looking at the crystal blue water, when the clouds parted and the Sun, which was setting over the California side of the lake, broke through- and a solid reflection of sunlight speared across the water and illuminated me.
I can still see the ripples in the water reflecting that light.
That memory is my “place” in my mind where I go when I need a calm moment.
I get these occasionaly. Usually in my head. A very short-lived feeling of creativity. A belief that somewhere in my head there is a mind-blowing fictional story waiting to be put into words.
I also get them in dreams. Dreams are often my perfect moments. I loooong for the ability to describe the essence of a dream using words.
Working feverishly yesterday afternoon on a Greek paper. I was horridly stressed. Then I glanced up, glanced out the window, and saw the beginnings of a jaw-droppingly gorgeous sunset. I saved my work, went outside, and ended up sitting on a bench watching the sky turn from neon pink to blood red to brilliant purple to perfect, desert dark.
I’m so in love with New Mexico right now…
Hey, another sunset one: I was on a mission trip in Saltillo, Mexico last New Year’s. One evening we had a sunset that made the sky look like liquid fire. It was just supernaturally red. Thankfully I had my camera with me, because it was one of the most astonishingly beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed.
Was sleeping with a lover, in the winter with the window open and snuggled close under eiderdowns. I woke up and there was just enough moonlight coming into the room to see he was awake, and looking me in the eyes. Nothing obscene happening, he was jsut watching me sleep.
Well, I guess you just had to be there.
I’m laying in a hammock.
On a Beach in Mexico.
In the shade.
I am not even cold.
I can hear the ocean.
I can see the ocean.
I don’t have sand up my ass.
Waiters come by every few minutes to see if I need more Mental Lubrication.
A great day.
Walking along the path on the northern shore of Ile Sainte-Helene, I come to a little scree slope down to the edge of the water. I clamber down it, and am immediately halted by the view. I find a nice place to sit, and take off my shoes and socks, and let them lave in the Saint Lawrence as I watch the sun set over the most perfect panorama of the city I’ve yet to find.
Late night, driving to Detroit from Chicago, my wife and kids sleeping in the car. I pulled past some hills, glanced to my left and there it was.
Hale-Bopp, in all it’s glory, plastered across the sky.
I had to pull over and wake everyone to look at it.
A sunny summer afternoon in August, just a light breeze.
I look out the back door, and my SO is sitting on the porch, blowing bubbles to my 18month old godson.
2 boys, one big and one little, the sunshine, and lots of bubbles.
The last “family” vacation I took with my parents (both of them).
We were driving through The Avenue of the Giants (Highway 101) and we stopped at an especially shady, lovely spot, where I could stop to do a painting. I am not the greatest landscape painter, but I wanted to try. My parents waited patiently while I painted the redwoods (acrylics on canvas). I think it took me something like 5 hours. It was wonderful, to sit there that long, just soaking up the redwoods, the smell, the whole beauty of it. The painting itself turned out “okay,” but the time spent and the memory of working on that painting are priceless.
I apologized to my parents (especially my dad, the “time keeper” for family vacations) about taking so long, but my dad particularly assured me that it was no problem. “I’ve never allowed myself the luxury of spending so much time in one place while I’m on a vacation,” he said. “I always feel like I must press forward, gotta keep moving to see more stuff. Having to wait for you finish a painting gives me the perfect excuse to sit back and relax in this one place for a while.”
He loved it, my mom loved it, it was a perfect afternoon in every way. About 6 months later my dad died after a quick and sudden illness.
The painting I did in the Ave. of the Giants has always had a special significance to my mom and me. We also still sometimes talk about that happy afternoon spent at the Ave. of the Giants.
Another perfect moment (well, afternoon) was on that same vacation (I think), where we went on the Skunk Train. It’s an old-fashioned train that goes through the woods in Northern California. It’s memorable not only for the scenery, but the whole trip on that cool old train. My dad loved trains (had a serious thing about trains) and he was pretty much in geek heaven–trains and trees! He was beside himself, and spent most of the ride outside in the “platform car” taking pictures and just being geeky. It was another perfect time for him especially, and we all shared in it.
That was beautiful yosemite. Such a special memory of your father. Cherish that painting (and lesson) always.
My perfect moment to share…last year about this time of the year we were at Cape Hatteras on the North Carolina Outer Banks on a sailing trip. Constant wind…and at night the deepest and darkest of blue skies and the brightest of bright stars. I could not take my eyes off of the stars at night. We just sat on our deck and stared. The night sky drained your stess right out of you and the wind gently blew it away.
End of a long day canoeing near the Brent Crater in Algonquin Park. Stumble up the path to the kaibo. Once I’m settled down, I look up and notice the kaibo has been placed overlooking an incredible wildflower meadow. Moose mother and baby across the way. Loons calling in the distance. Nicest shit I ever took.
Well, it doen’t have to do with nature. But I flew home for my SIL’s baby shower. This was a last minute trip and I didn’t tell anyone except my one sister who was picking me up at the airport.
I walked into the bar (yeah, for a baby shower), and as I came around the corner, one of my other sisters (I have many, many, sisters) saw me and just starting crying with happiness… That was a perfect moment for me of just knowing that I am loved. Kinda like attending your own funeral… It was really cool. Everyone should get to experience that.
I started a thread a while back about a perfect moment I experienced. In fact, it was perfect to within five ten-thousandths of an inch.
I went back and read this…Miller wins the Perfect Moment Award. Things like this do make you think there is a higher order at work in the universe. Of course it could well be because Miller is a. well. skilled. craftstman.
Think though…what if that had happened…out on a deck…under the brightest stars in the bluest sky?
Well, my four year old son gave me one this morning. I was giving him the normal hug and kiss goodbye, and when I went to pull away, he pulled me back in and hugged with all his might. It made my heart smile.
I have two others, they both involve sailing. Taking a Hobie cat the length of White Bear Lake. On one pontoon. Another was sailing on Superior, on the windward side of Michigan Island, just past the light house. The day was warm, the tack was perfect, the wind was just strong enough, and I popped open the first beer of the day. That is what vacation is supposed to be like always.
I started a thread about my event last spring (IIRC).
Clear blue sky, warm sun, a very slight breeze in the air.
I had taken a break and gone outside to unwind a bit and was sitting on a bench just “being.” A beautiful girl, about 20 years old, walked by in a soft looking dress, swinging her purse. She had a big smile on her face and it seemed like everything was going her way. She said, “It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?” I responded, “Yes, it sure is.”
It reminded me of Mr. Bernstein’s comment to Charles Foster Kane where he describes seeing the young girl on the ferry.
Many a time I’ve climbed a peak or a pass gives that perfect moment. One that stands out. I took a 4 day bus into Tibet, got my backpack and headed out of town and straight up the first mountain trail I could find so I wouldn’t be arrested for being in the wrong place. Town was about 8,000 feet, and I spent that night at around 12,000 feet with a resting pulse of 120 bps. Got up the next day and went up a peak in the freakin’ middle of nowhere, where no local in their right mind would climb since there was no point and no logical place to go. Climbed up the damn peak, it was scree the whole way up. Step and slide back 6 inches and sucking serious wind the entire way. Peak was somewhere around 15-16,000 feet. Got to the top and someone had build a 6 foot high stone cairn, with 3-4 wooden poles stuck in and prayer flags flapping away in the wind. It was breathtaking. Many people had climbed up that peak just for the beauty and to put up prayer flags. There was no other reason to go up, there were no trails going anywhere else. To be up on that peak, with mountain range after mountain range stretching as far as the eye could see, the sky blue as it can only be way up high, and the prayer flags flapping away in the wind. It was awesome
I get a perfect moment of zen fairly often when driving. There’s just something relaxing about speeding down the highway with your windows down, the radio up, and the cool autumn breeze blowing all over you.
Almost without fail, any time I drive into Salem, there is at least one or two moments where I feel entirely at peace because of the cloud patterns in the sky, some song I love playing on the radio, and thinking of an absent friend or loved one.
Of course, that’s usually followed by a moment or two of melancholy because, well… they’re absent. But the memories are worth it.