In Praise of Little Moments (Thoughts On A Recent Drive Home)

Southern Utah Highway

The incredible is approaching

from over there

(This time)

it won’t leap past us

– David Gray, The Incredible

It came out of nowhere on an otherwise routine drive. A feeling of peace and contentment. I’m happy most days, most of the time, but there is almost always a cool current of unease running beneath that happiness: the feeling that I’m missing something, forgetting something. That I need to be on the move. There are too many things to do and not enough time to do them. Contentment doesn’t make an appearance too often in my life. But there in the car, on that sleek gray ribbon of road, there was nothing else to be done but drive and let my head empty out.

As I motored along, snug in the slipstream of a semi-truck, my favorite music playing, I thought about nothing except what I was seeing. The sky was immense and beautifully colored in gold and mauve and blue, a poignant burst of color and light before nightfall. Flat, rippled clouds radiated out from around the sun, blurring it and the light to the softness of a watercolor. In the distance the black scrawl of leafless trees harshly marked the horizon line. The car felt safe and secure, cozy as a soft bed. It hummed smoothly along the road, knowing where it was going, driving itself. The music was nearly touchable, surrounding me, filling me. Like icy drops from a melting icicle – clear, pure, crystalline – the seconds fell. The car, the road, the music, the sky, even the bulk of the semi in front of me: in harmony. It occurred to me that I could travel on like this for an eternity, the sun always just about to set, the music playing, trusty wheels turning and turning.

To the east great masses of thunderheads sat heavy along the horizon, their bloated menace softened by the baby pink wash of the lingering sunset. The great orb seemed to slow for my benefit, pulling me west, urging me home before the last of its light faded. To the south were clouds that weren’t clouds but a towering, craggy mountain range of lavender, fleetingly transporting me from the plains of Oklahoma to the Rocky Mountains. The illusion was broken by brittle-bright strings of lightning flashing within the clouds’ depths. The red light on top of a thin spindle of a cell tower pulsed lazily against the puffy gray, unaware of the threat moving behind it.

As I neared my destination and one song ended and another began, I could feel the contentment slipping away and my thoughts turning to what needed to be done when I got home. I tried to retrieve the warm feeling, but the more I tried, the further it retreated.

These are moments that can’t be forced or created. They just come. Just there, just over the horizon. Reminding me not to live a life suspended between the dramatic “big moments.” To savor the ephemeral before it leaps past and slips away.

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2 thoughts on “In Praise of Little Moments (Thoughts On A Recent Drive Home)

  1. Brittany

    This is so beautifully written, and a great reminder. I’m always working on contentment and being more present. I wish I could have been on this drive with you.

    Reply
  2. Lorna

    I felt your feeling of completeness on reading this, and can think of similar experiences I’ve had myself. They are wonderful moments, ephemeral and unplanned, and I completely agree with you that they have to be taken as they come and enjoyed for as long as they last. Your descriptions of the sky and the drive are beautifully expressed and very satisfying.

    Reply

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