On eternity, and the fleeting smell of lilacs

Last weekend was a friend’s birthday dance party. Sweating and jumping and singing loudly to Michael Jackson, and the most decadently delicious chocolate-caramel-pretzel cake that had to be sampled at 1:00 a.m.

Had to.

Midway through the evening, though, I felt the desire to leave.

I wasn’t done dancing as much as the introvert in me needed quiet. Right now. Without a word, mid-song, I walked through the dance floor and out the door. The air outside was the perfect combination of the fragrance of lilacs and other blooming trees, even more pronounced at night, and the comfortable warmth and slight heaviness of the weather contemplating rain.

The houses were mostly dark, still, by this time of night, as I walked the short, square blocks of Beacon, a small town in the Hudson Valley of New York State. One on the corner, with the lilacs, showed off a white picket fence under a nearby streetlight.

The crouched swaying and flails of dancing gave way to broadened shoulders and my head turned upward as I breathed in the night air.

Did I mention that it was perfect?

I wasn’t thinking anything. Nothing at all. It must have been why I kept smiling. Why I waved to the lilacs and stopped to smell them under the streetlight. How could I not? Night walk in Beacon - 5-16-15

As I turned another corner, there he was. Or should I say, He.

I don’t fancy myself a religious person, but I thought (a thought) that if I were, this would be the sign I had been waiting for. His arms outstretched. His immense shadow growing behind him with each step I took closer.

The party was within earshot again, the drum beats joining the scene in front of the church. A police car turned onto the block to check on the noise. Teenagers still further in the distance, rolling in on bicycles, their laughter giving them away. It all felt serene. Like floating. His arms looking effortless, and life feeling the same. The party was there. The music over there. The police car and teens, over there and there.

Though I’m also not the type to quote French poets, if I were I would know that Rene Char said:

If you can dwell in one moment, you will discover eternity.

Maybe I am that person after all.


4 thoughts on “On eternity, and the fleeting smell of lilacs

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