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Living in the moment

April 29th, 2005 · No Comments


When the camera arrived, a few weeks ago, I ran down the street the following morning to record the dogwood blossoms. These native flowering trees are one of my favorite signs of Northwest spring. But the blooms are already fading and flopping, brown around the edges of the petals, no longer fresh and white. After I took my picture, I stopped noticing the flowers, walking past without a second glance. Now another year will pass before I can glimpse their beauty again.

In snatches and snippets caught here and there, I’ve been reading through a collection of essays by Anna Quindlen: Loud and Clear. I cherish her wisdom in her writings on motherhood in retrospect. She described her journey through stresses of parenting and working, failures and joys, both national and personal crisises, the delicate dance of composing columns about family matters, pieces titled Doing Nothing is Something and Good-bye Dr. Spock. Here’s my favorite quote, from an essay lamenting all my babies are gone now.:

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs….I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less. (page 11)

It’s great to have a camera to capture the moment. But a photograph can’t compare to being there. Not presence, the filling a seat on the sidelines out of duty or obligation while the mind is otherwise occupied, but the passionate participation in the ephemeral, seizing the day, every opportunity to love and laugh before it disappears. I want to live in the moment so I have more than a picture to remind me of what has passed. I want a vivid clarity, an imprint not only an image, a richer treasure to savor forever in my soul. I want to be in the moment as the river flows through time so when I look back on the map, through the topology of wrinkles and rememberances, I can know I was there.

Tags: journal

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