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.


May you surprise yourself

This quote by Neil Gaiman has been making the social media rounds lately, and I love it a little bit more every time I see it.


First, it starts with Magic, one of my favorites. A word which conjures an image of it silently following me around like a friendly, surreptitious shadow. I kind of want to randomly wave hello at the wind and walls in case magic is hiding nearby contemplating when might be a good time to appear.

Even better, the quote ends with surprise. It’s empowering that I can surprise myself. I’m not waiting. Any moment I get to choose when to push myself out of my comfort zone, dance on my edge, leap into the unknown believing that I will glide to a soft, perfect landing. (If you haven’t noticed, I often play mix and match with metaphors. Go with it.)

While impressively articulate, Mr Gaiman hasn’t exactly cornered the market in new year wishes. Now it’s my turn.

May 2015 be filled with…

  • Silly words, belly laughs, and delightful happenstance.
  • Generous deeds done by us, and on our behalf.
  • Balance — work and play, lightness and sincerity, long walks and afternoon naps in the sun.

May 2015 find you, me, us…

  • Holding onto the good things, so when not-so-good things happen we are comforted, and know that more good is around the corner.
  • Surrounded by people who unabashedly love us, and who we love back.
  • Seizing perfectly-timed opportunities with gusto.
  • With more answers than questions, and at ease with both.

As I type, I can feel other wishes bubbling to the surface, eager to be included, but I think it’s time give others a chance.

What is your wish for 2015?