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This morning, I was up early. The sun hadn’t quite risen when I embarked on my morning walk. It was cool and I appreciated the welcome breeze that I’d been longing for. As I made my way back, I caught a glimpse of the reddening sky as the clouds reflected the rising sun. It was awesome. By the time that I’d decided that I wanted to take a photo, the sun had risen that fraction further and the colours had faded. The moment was gone.

I cursed the fact that I’d missed the photo and then realised that I’d probably witnessed something that most people never see, or if they do, take for granted. I was “blessed” to have seen it.

That got me thinking.

How many moments have I missed?

We can’t get them back. Moments present themselves to be appreciated and then they’re gone. In a previous post, I mentioned that as I emerged from darkness, I’d taken time to “watch the clouds” and appreciate that the best things in life are free. We aren’t here for a long time and it seems that we spend an inordinate amount of time being distracted by things that we either have no control over or don’t really matter.

I am reminded of reading a Stephen King book where he listed his top 100 horror stories. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury was on the list. I borrowed it from the library and was confused by its contents. It was a nostalgic tale about Bradbury’s childhood and then it gradually dawned on me. There is only now. We can’t go back, nor can we go forward. Life is to be savoured, There is joy to be found in the minutiae and randomness of life. The trick is not to miss it. To live alife and not realise that you are alive would be horrific.

And yet, that is how our society is structured. Work, consume, sleep, work, consume, die.

That is not how it is meant to be.

Wisdom comes slowly. By the time we can start to grasp what this crazy business is about, there’s every chance that the sand will have all but run through the hourglass. When I am eighty will I be regretting not seeing the moments that have passed me by? Will it matter?

That moment is gone forever

We can’t get it back.

Trips to the Test matches with my grandfather where he regaled me with stories of Hobbs, Sutcliffe and of course, Bradman.

A smile shared across a crowded room.

Endless summers of childhood where we charged through sprinklers on lush green lawns.

Innocence.

That euphoric feeling of being “in love” for the first time.

Catching my first fish.

The smell of rain on a summer’s day.

Racing billy carts down a steep hill at breakneck speed with no regard for life or limb.

The enormity of becoming a parent.

A blood moon on a summer’s night.

My grandmother telling me not to be such a fool and smiling as she said it.

My child walking beside me and holding my hand. chattering with excitement, energy and life. Life doesn’t get any better than this.

Letting go…

Picking strawberries with my Aunty Lucy when I was four.

Stupid jokes and mad pranks.

Riding through the back streets of a town that no longer exists, perched on the handlebars of my Uncle John’s motorbike.

The frisson of getting the cuts for the first time at school.

Playing Aussie rules with my mates.

They are just memories now. Did I appreciate those moments for what they were?

What’s it all about?

Wiser people than I have endeavoured to answer that question and come up short, I’m not going to try. There is no doubt though, that we have been granted an enormous privilege to be here. It’s kind of a waste to spend what little time we have accumulating meaningless possessions when there is so much to see for the first time, even if we’ve walked past it a thousand times before.

Live in the moment, savour it, drink it in. Don’t hold back. It is, after all, yours to appreciate. If you blink it will be gone.

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By Mark

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