Do you ever have one of those pure moments that sort of illuminates the basic wonderfulness of life?
The way we live is pretty barmy. Most of us have signed up to the rat race and we zoom through our days barely appreciating what we have or those who love us. The daily grind takes up so much time and attention, it’s hard sometimes to stop and take a moment.
Well I struggle anyway. Maybe it’s just me.
But then occasionally you’re somewhere, and often you can be surrounded by people, and suddenly you see something beautiful that just makes you stop and watch and marvel at the unique and wondrous qualities of life on this planet in this massive universe, and despite all those other people being there you know you’re the only one who sees this thing, and that makes it perfectly special and yours and yours alone.
Like a few months ago I was walking across Westminster Bridge. It was a bright sunny day and I had a favourite tune on the iPod. Sunshine lights up London’s buildings and that part of town is kind of wonderful. It was thronging with tourists and people going about their business, and as I walked, taking it all in, a single shiny red balloon floated up over City Hall into the crisp bright blue sky.
It was kind of magical.
And while everyone else was busy taking pictures or making phone calls or hailing cabs, I was in my little bubble watching the special beauty of this solitary balloon’s bid for freedom up into the big blue yonder above the busy, uniquely London scene. It kind of made me beam in my tummy. Although the moment was somewhat spoiled when I reached the other side of the bridge only to come face to face with Ken Clarke. Or maybe it was some other equally unattractive Tory MP. I’ve tried to blot that part out.
This week we spent some days with my family in Dorset. We went down to get some photos taken of the four generations of Hawes women. Me, my girls, my mum and my granny. She’s 95 this year but no word of a lie looks 15 years younger than that.
Driving home on Thursday I was in another bubble. The girls were in the back watching a movie, my OH was working on his laptop, and as I drove my favourite Elbow track came on and I turned my head briefly to the right to see a fawn grazing in a field alongside the motorway.
A fleeting moment of wonder, and then we were gone and there was no time to share it with anyone else.
Yesterday we went on a journey to a part of my life that is always tinged with sadness.
It’s usually quite a tricky day and the drive home sees me reflective and sorrowful. A little regretful.
It makes my heart ache for someone we lost way too young. Someone whom I would have liked to have had the chance to play a bigger part in my life, and vice versa.
Oddly, out of nowhere as we were heading out on that trip, my mind went to memories of my granddad. Memories that really made me smile. Another special, unshared moment.
I don’t really miss the people in my life who have died. I carry their memories constantly, so they’re always with me. In the case of my granddad, he was such a special man that I tried hard to incorporate his best character traits into myself, and also to instil them in my girls. And so he lives on. In us.
But what makes me sad about the fact that they’re gone is everything they’re missing. All those beautiful life affirming moments. All the special significant seconds that make us pause and wonder at the brilliance of it all.
I want to list some of the gorgeous, natural, breath-taking things that have brought tears to my eyes, but I’m sure you have your own.
It kind of breaks my heart that those people will never see those things. Will never have those heart-stopping moments when everything is perfect for a beat and everything that weighs us down is just absent.
And also that they’re missing my girls growing up.
I’m not going to add a moral to this post. Instead I will add two further songs, since music seems (for me) to play a part in these moments. They’re both about death, but also about grabbing life – and those in it – with both hands and planting a big smacker squarely in its (or their) face.