Maybe it is the current environment, waiting for the other shoe to drop, the sense when I turn on the news in the morning that I’m going to see a special report about some bomb, some decision which brings us closer to annihilation. But more than ever in my life I’m in search of simplicity, of those perfect moments we normally only experience with people we love. You know the ones—laughing with someone so hard that just recalling that moment makes you laugh again; a deep conversation over a glass of wine about the beauty of simplicity, the meaning of it all. Maybe you go for a walk and there’s a soft breeze; maybe you sit on the porch and there are a million stars, or maybe just a gentle rain falling on the awning and the sound is as eternal as a sigh. Those moments when what was and what will be are shrouded by the widening love of that moment. Those times. We live for those times.
Of course we can’t always live in the moment. By nature we remember and plan, and the need to survive requires lessons and anticipation. But the art of being mindful of the now is slipping away. We are engrossed in connections.
Distraction has crept into our lives like a slowly rising tide, soaking the moments normally set aside for a little peace of mind. We check the phone, get online, get absorbed by news updates, protests, uprisings, the falling Dow, we jump at the “bing,” worry about what didn’t get done, worry about what might happen. When we used to let go and simply “Be,” we now hold on, afraid of missing something, believing we need to keep up, stay informed. There is always—always—human sound streaming from somewhere; unfortunately it is rarely laughter. Hell, even tears would do if it meant a moment of honesty. But instead it is a video, music, conversations, the press, the pressing need to know, the pressure of parenthood, of teenagehood, of the extraordinary task of having an ordinary day.
This isn’t leading anywhere. I don’t have a solution, I really don’t. I don’t know what to tell you. It simply is an observation.
As for me, I’ll walk the water’s edge and think about walking the water’s edge. I’ll talk to a friend and share some wine and laugh about what strikes us, have deep conversations about what sets our souls on fire, and then try and keep it burning well into what’s next.
I have a few symptoms of this chronic condition called “time.” My wrist hurts for no reason at all; I have memory issues; I listen to a lot of Van Morrison. Still, I am fine with all that; it is like the proctor calling out from the front desk that there is only thirty minutes left to finish the exam: it makes me sit up and get down to business.
And it helps me focus on simplicity and the moment I’m in. One of the advantages of trying to focus on the “now” is I don’t really need too much memory to do that anyway. All I need is a place to walk.
And breadcrumbs. I should probably bring breadcrumbs.