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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Perfect Moment Is a Soap Bubble

A year has gone by already!
Our little great-grandsons are normal, healthy, active children and love to run after soap bubbles floating on the breeze. This photo, though, is over a year old. The bubbles in the picture are long gone, the boys much grown, talking up a storm, running even faster this year.

Like the realization of happiness, the experience of perfection is ephemeral but no less precious for its will-o’-the-wisp nature. I started thinking about this in the wee hours of the morning, lying awake listening to my partner, the Artist, breathing regularly in his sleep beside me and our dog, our darling old Sarah, breathing quietly on the floor next to our bed, all of us alive and safe and together in the dark. We are aging, all three of us but Sarah fastest of all (although we assume she is oblivious to the fact), and so awareness of our time together is a frequent topic of conversation these days. On Labor Day, I gave Sarah a bath, then washed my hair, and afterward the two of us (dog and I) spent much of the remaining afternoon outdoors, relaxing in the sun while the Artist worked nearby and came and went. The warmth and light of the day were like a benediction. Later the whole pack rode in the car up to Christmas Cove to watch Lake Michigan waves crash against the shore. 

Day arrives
Waves crash

Day departs
There have been many lovely moments in recent months, many light-filled, memorable, heart-stopping scenes along life’s way. There was that sandhill crane on the back road one morning and what was probably a once-in-a-lifetime sighting of a fisher right in my own yard. There were wonderful hours of wandering back roads of woods and waters in Barry County with my son last spring. The annual but never dull parade of flowers from trillium and marsh marigold to Joe-Pyeweed and goldenrod. Sunrises, sunsets, clouds, precious visits to mares with this year’s adorable foals, peaceful evenings on the porch, and the sight of a late friend’s face in her daughter’s smile. 

Whenever I’m driving to Northport or home at the end of the day, my mind is usually perusing a mental calendar and working down a lengthy to-do list. When I stop, however, and turn off the engine and get out of the car, if only long enough to frame one particular photograph but especially when Sarah and I can take our time, if only for ten minutes of rambling, then my breath slows and deepens, my mind clears, and my senses awake to the nuances of my surroundings. 

Nothing lasts forever
As I reflect on moments of awareness and happiness, I continue to think also of the nature of the soap bubble. The way it drifts and wobbles and catches the light and lets us see the world through it. The way we can sometimes let one alight on our skin for a moment or two. The inevitable pop! If you are the kind of person who wants all the scientific facts, you may want to follow this link and read about evaporation and surface tension. If you’re more like me and see metaphors everywhere you look, you will simply rejoice in the fragile, momentary loveliness, maybe sigh over its disappearance but, still, be glad you were there to see it, very glad you had your eyes open.

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