When I experience those moments of perfect joy it frightens me and I’m not sure why. These are simple, everyday moments that evoke a primal positive response followed almost immediately by a primal negative response. Perhaps it is because of the mere brevity of these moments. So swift, even if I had a camera always at the ready, I could not capture any one of them in full. They exist only in my memory. And in my journal when I take the time to write. Sometimes I’m lazy about that.
In the week past I’ve recognized several such moments. They always spring on me totally unaware, when I am engaged in the most mundane of activities or tasks. And yet they crush my heart in the purest way. A prime example is the bike ride. A daily activity for me. The grandkids and I go for rides whenever their bikes are at grandma and grandpa’s house, too. We set out in our usual formation – granddaughter in the lead, grandson in the middle and grandma bringing up the rear so as to watch the youngest and be quick on hand in case of wipeout (which hasn’t happened, whew). As I watched him cruise down the hill, riding his brake just enough to slow his descent to avoid a “tipover” or a “run off the road,” I was overcome with joyful pride in such a beautiful boy. Then I looked ahead to his sister, all coltishly lovely and aware, sitting tall on her bike’s saddle, growing up so quickly before my eyes. I was overcome with feelings so strong I raised my eyes to the bluebird sky and smiled a heartfelt “thank you.” Just before a dark cloud passed through my mind’s eye. And I sighed.
A day later, I was in the open barn door watching the hose as the stock tank filled up with water for the moos large and small. A flock of small birds (unidentified) wheeled in perfect formation across my field of vision. It was as if their flight was synchronized in perfect choreographed fashion. Eventually some lit on fence posts, some on fence wire and they were so sweetly lovely that it transcended time and space and rational thought. Another joyous moment that had me raising my eyes heavenward and I was smiling. Before that dark cloud again crept in. Yet another sigh.
Time is short. Think on the summer that is swiftly passing. Doesn’t it seem as if it were just the first day of June? The dandelions were poking through the sparse grass. Gardens were only a dream held in a seed packet. The earliest of flowers were all that could be found dotting the landscape.
If my life were a DVD or a VHS tape, I’d have to say someone pushed the fast forward button, every activity that occurred between that day nearly three months past and up until now is but a blur of sight, sound and color. In fact, the sound is but a babble of high-pitched scree in my ears. The clock on the wall might as well be in a constant state of whirring hands, roundandroundandround, quick as you please. The digital ones blinking onward at the speed of light.
It is all so very very brief. Those birds will soon wend their way southward. Those children will soon stash their bicycles away, trading them in for backpacks stuffed with school supplies. And when next we can ride together in a three-spot line on a country road, we will all be another year older. Therein lies the rub. Time no longer seems my friend. It no longer seems on my side. Does it want to rob my joy almost before I can acknowledge it?
In my quotation collection is Thomas Fuller: “We never know the worth of water till the well runs dry.”
Seems I must keep close count on the worth of my joyous moments, storing them up in my heart so that my “well” will never run dry. That should work.