I often find myself so overwhelmed by the beauty of something I feel like I might actually explode. I used to figure this was probably weird until I read a passage in an outstanding book about introverts that referred to a subset of people who are also “highly sensitive”. It said, “…you’re more apt than the average person to feel pleasantly overwhelmed by Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’ or a well-turned phrase or an act of extraordinary kindness.”
“Pleasantly overwhelmed”. That is a PERFECT description of how I feel about these things!
“Highly sensitive”. I like putting a label on how deeply I am affected by these things!
In fact, I’m “pleasantly overwhelmed” by how PERFECT the description “pleasantly overwhelmed” is for what I’m feeling!!
To say I was “pleasantly overwhelmed” by my drive home tonight is an understatement.
I suppose I should have been in a crummy mood. The team I was cheering for lost. Twice. But I had a great evening. I got to sit outdoors on a beautiful late spring evening behind the backstop of what is practically the real life embodiment of the “Field of Dreams” diamond (you know, sans the ghostly emergence of former major leaguers from the cornstalks ) and watch a great group of kids play the greatest sport ever invented while I talked and laughed with their equally great parents. It’s virtually impossible for me to leave a field in a bad mood these days. Regardless of outcome, any day watching a baseball or softball game is a good day.
I love the drive to and from this field. It’s a scenic blend of rolling hills, fields, trees, and sky and I always make a point of enjoying all 25 minutes of it by rolling down my windows, cranking my music and enjoying my surroundings.
Tonight was different. Even more perfect than usual. Tonight everything came together into a perfect moment in time.
I turned north off the main road down a side road that I take at least three or four times a week and always enjoy the view, but tonight it was like a crescendo to a perfect evening. I looked to the west as the road was dipping down and found the fields with their perfect rows of deep green cresting, reaching to catch the blazing orange, sharply round sun as it was brought down to rest for the night by a cushion of purple and pink clouds. Trees dotting the horizon against the deep blue of the sky. My arm out the window to grab the 78 degree breeze as it flew by. Music blaring through my car speakers.
I was so struck by the beauty of the moment my first thought was how desperately I wished I could take a picture to capture it all so I could remember it later. But I was driving so I couldn’t take a picture. Here I was bursting with this perfect moment and no way to capture it.
Then it hit me.
Stop worrying about the fact that you’re not taking a picture to capture this perfect moment and just ENJOY THIS PERFECT MOMENT!
Don’t waste the gloriousness of experiencing it by lamenting the fact that you’re not documenting it.
Document it in your mind. Pay attention to it. Notice it. Notice the colors and the feeling so you can write about it when you get home. So you can remember it next week when it’s rainy and you’re tired and the day is long. Capture the scene with your mind’s eye.
A camera picture would never do the moment justice anyway. The colors are never quite the way your eyes saw them. A picture won’t let you feel the breeze on your skin. A picture won’t play the music back for your ears. But your brain can do that. Your brain can bring back that perfect moment and let you relive it, if you give it a chance to burn in all the details.
As I continued to drive, the moment was passing. The sun was setting quickly, the clouds were changing, the road was turning away, all these thoughts were swirling so fast in my head I could barely comprehend them. The details of the scene, the words I wanted to write in this blog post, there was no way for me to take notes while I was driving. What if I forgot some of it? I’d have to remember it all to get it right. To get it perfect. I started to focus on the quickest way home, so I could get back to start writing.
Then, precisely on cue, whether by coincidence or act of music shuffle clarity telling me to slow down and enjoy it, Bruce Springsteen’s Glory Days started streaming from my car speakers. I laughed and started singing along, realizing I’ll remember the story and tell it in whatever words end up coming out. Perfect and accurately remembered or overly glorified.
Aren’t things better when we remember them a little fuzzy anyway?
My friend and I had just been joking earlier in the evening when her son got a rather awkward base hit that somehow found its way to an open spot on the grass and brought in the go-ahead run, that when her son tells that story to his grandkids years from now he’s going to tell it as, “I SMOKED that ball to the right field gap, DRIVING in the go-ahead run!”
And I think that’s how it should be. We should all remember beautiful moments just a little more beautiful than maybe they really were.
I burned that scene of the hills and the sunset into my brain and now, as I sit at my keyboard hours later, when I close my eyes I can still see the scene in my mind’s eye. Only now it’s emblazoned in a kind of hazy mist of “remembrance fog”. The colors are a little brighter, the contrast between the sky and the hills a little more striking, the temperature and breeze a little more perfect, my singing…a little more on pitch.
I remember it as just a little more awesome than it probably really was, or would have appeared to others who saw it in person, but I remember it the way I FELT it. And remembering the way a perfect moment made you feel is the point of capturing the moment in the first place.
I did eventually find a parking lot to pull into to take a picture, because I need one for the top of this post, but by that time I was miles away from the green fields, the sun had set and the pinks left in the sky did absolutely no justice to that perfect moment on the crest of the hill.
You’ll just have to take my word for it…
“Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture
a little of the glory of,
well time slips away
and leaves you with nothing mister but
boring stories of glory days”
Bruce Springsteen – Glory Days