Rhett said to me the other night that the reason he loves hunting so much is because it forces him to be in the moment. Every movement, every sound, every bit of wind matters when you’re hunting. It all effects whether or not you have a successful hunt. There is not room for error. There is no room for thought beyond what you’re doing.
When he’s not hunting, Rhett has a hard time staying in the moment. His mind races and he jumps from thought to thought. I can relate with this, as my mind is often a chaotic place, most of the time it’s creating unrealistic circumstances that I must then navigate my way out of, ya know, in case the grocery store is ever invaded and held at gun point. I’d need to know how to safely get out of that situation.
I realized at a very young age that memories were exceptionally important to me. The reason they were so important is because the memories you make become the stories you tell, and I love a good story. If someone starts piping up a story, they have my full attention. I sit there, wide eyed, all ears, living the moment through their words. I want to be that person. The person who can tell great stories, repaint a moment so well, your audience would be right there beside you.
The best way to tell a story is detail, and the only way to recall detail is to be in the moment when they happen. I remember experiencing something funny as a teen and thinking to myself, “oh man, I don’t want to forget this”. I’d then step outside of myself, so to speak, and watch the moment from different angles. I’d memorize colors, sounds, scents, the feeling of the air – is it warm out or cold. I would watch faces and listen to their laughter, fixating the sound to the face. It was glorious being able to relive these moments to such detail in my mind later on.
This slowly became a skill that I devoted to developing. I’d be eating peaches and icecream with my grandma and grandpa and I would listen to my spoon hitting the edge of the bowl, memorizing the clink it made against the glass. I’d watch the spoon effortlessly slice through the light orange, with a tint of pink, home canned peaches, moving the spoon slowly, capturing the movement. I’d hold the peach in my mouth a little longer, logging the details of the mouth watering sweetness of the thick syurp. Looking up I never wanted to forget the way the light came in through the patio door, behind my grandpa’s head, illuminating the gaps in his hair, between the thick hair grease. I’d watch him eating peaches, memorizing the way he looked into the bowl, holding it four inches from his face, making sure he got every last bit of peach. He was nearly fully blind, and holding his plate or bowl close to his face was common. I listened with deep intent every time my grandpa prayed for a meal, memorizing his tone, the dips and sways of his words, always the exact same every time, never wanting to forget the way he sounded when he thanked God for his “love and care over us”. These memories are all the sweeter now that they are all I have left of my grandpa.
Living in the moment is a complete way of life for me. I think this is why I get so devestared when things don’t go as I imagine they could, when memories could be made, but Netflix is on instead. Living in the moment is a way I feed my soul. While in Italy with a friend, I sat in the piatza with her and took in the sounds of voices in conversation, reverberating up the walls of century’s old buildings. Feeling the cold, hard sone while sitting on a two hundred year old fountain. Staring at the water pouring out of the sculpted statue, watching the water become sound and the sound of it crashing into the pool become water in my mind. The snapping sound of pigeon wings taking flight would pull me from my trance, and I’d watch the flock asend over the tops of the buildings. I can transport myself to any country I have traveled to in astounding detail because of this skill. I could be in the slums of Thailand, great castles of England, a loud and busy line in Disneyland, the expanded plains of Africa, peddling a bike in the Amsterdam rain or hearing the crackle of a campfire in my own Canadian backyard.
There are a million treasures to be had in the moment. I hesitated writing down my thoughts on this, as I was afraid to leave the glorious moment of laying in bed, listening to my husband slowly fall asleep, feeling the heartbeat in his fingers as he holds my hand. The crickets are singing their summer tune out the window, and the air is making a calm and silent hum, as if the decending warm air from the day is lowers it’s tune to embrace the cold breeze of night. My husband’s fingers twitch as he drifts off to sleep and the dog lets out a groan as he stretches into his official sleeping position. Being in this moment, there is nothing else I could wish for.
One could say, I live for the moment. I think this is why I get depressed in stagnant environments, whether they be work, uninspiring living situations or houses, or watching too much TV night after night, instead of embracing the last pink light of the evening. Once you have developed the skills to really experience a moment for all it has to offer, it’s addicting, and just normal old life isn’t satisfying anymore. Your eyes need to see colours and shapes they haven’t seen yet, your fingers need to touch everything, just to know what it feels like, and you want to just sit and listen to all the possible sounds around you. Rhett will laugh at me when I say, “I need to touch that” and reach out to crunch a leaf in my hand, or squish food between my fingers. I just have to know, what does the bark on that tree really feel like, because I need to lock it away in my mind for future tellings
The moment is too amazing to clutter it up with thinking. There are too many memories to be made, had, and recalled later. You can only experience life if you are actually experiencing it. Simply living is not enough.