This blog has mostly been about writing or tangential topics of writerly stuff. But with the last entry titled ‘Moments’ we’re going to expand the breadth of what we discuss here, talking more about the moments that make up not just stories but life; yours and mine.
I had such a moment a few days ago. I had been on our property in the Ozarks looking at a fence that had just been put in to keep our ever-curious and Houdini-like horses on our side of said fence. I had taken three dogs with me and as we crossed hill and dale – always followed by the small herd of affectionate equines – I found myself reveling in a moment of sublime contentment. It wasn’t anything dramatic but it was one of those rare times when you are present and grateful for the moment itself, and for the day and all that is in it.
As I was cresting one hill the December sun pleasantly tingled on my face and shoulders and the far mountains seemed close through the leafless trees, surrounding us like a big granite hug. The horses had stopped to graze a few yards away, enjoying their own moment of contentment. My three dogs, Fergus, a large English Mastiff, Gabby, our gazelle-like Mountain Cur and Henry, our Benji Doppelganger, were racing into a pond, relishing the water and the simple joy of doing so.
I watched all this from a spot where I could see both sets of animals and I suddenly realized this was my life; not the far flung hopes of a future where we picture such things, but my real life, right now. I stood there and found my mouth halfway open, caught between a sudden rush of emotion where I wanted to gleefully yell across the property, and a profound thankfulness in the quiet, tinkling of time.
My friend, Derek, used to make fun of me because I always wanted to ‘walk the land’ and here I was placing foot prints in soil that was my own to steward. In such times as these I usually bow my head a little, giving thanks to the Lord because that is where my gratitude is breathed. And always after doing so I feel an electric kinship, a closeness, to Him. Though unseen He is still palpable. Words always diminish moments like these but that is the best I can do.
My thoughts turned to the past several years that had brought my wife, Dawn, and I to this moment in time. And again all I could do was shake my head in wonder as the dogs raced past, the horses lifting their heads for a moment then turning back to their grassy meal. I had a wife, a partner in life whom I was deeply in love with. I was surrounded by animals that I had bonded with and were my family, and our dream of building a home on a piece of land we had forged together was coming true. And to top of it all off, I was about to begin a new job adventure with two dear friends that took us all full circle in both our careers and lives.
I went over, scratching a couple of horses behind the ears and affectionately rubbed their muzzles before calling the dogs back to the car and climbing in. As I started the engine, I looked around at the land that had called to us and nodded again in thanks. We drove away as the horses watched us, the dogs panting and smiling back at them as if to say thanks for the playtime. I was smiling, too, and would continue to do so all the way home.