All we need is here, now

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The last light of day painted the western sky pink as I drove home Monday. Golden rays from the setting sun shone through the few gray clouds hanging low in an evening sky that was quickly moving from dusk to dark.I zipped along listening to Mary Chapin Carpenter singing about life and love and choices on her new CD, “The Age of Miracles.” As one of my favorite songs, “What You Look For” started playing, I hummed along joining in as she sang, “seek the sun and it shines back.”
Turning down my dirt road, I was lost in the lyrics, not seeing, just listening and gliding over the bumps. Coming to a spot where the trees overhang the road creating a living canopy, I noticed a sparkle of light in front of my windshield.
Then I saw another beside my car and another and another and another. I was in the middle of what appeared to be a swarm of lightning bugs, each one twinkling a hello in my direction. The sight filled me with a kind of bittersweet longing, remembering childhood escapades when the wonder of catching these bugs in a mayonnaise jar was magic. How quickly that time passed. How fleeting were those magic moments.
Funny thing these minds of ours do, they send us traveling through time and we follow so easily, losing completely the present as we chase a memory.
As I was about to get lost in yesterday, the track on the CD changed. A flash brought me back as a moth flying in front of my headlights turned to silver and then vanished into the darkness of the ditch. The swarm of fireflies was now a twinkle here and there in the trees on either side of the road.
Suddenly the words of the song on the CD swirled around me filling the car and my head.
“Don’t look back the spirits cry
“Just be glad to be alive…”
That’s what we do, I thought; we look back, caught in yesterday, in a place that does not exist anymore except in our memories. Sometimes longing so much for that time we forget to appreciate breathing right here where we are now.
I came to the end of the road and turned toward home. Sitting in my carport, I played the song again, listening closely to the words as they reminded me of something important.
I switched off the car and opened the door. A chorus of singing frogs and crickets filled the air. Deep in the woods, two owls called back and forth, carrying on a haunting conversation.
I stood with my eyes closed as I breathed in the fragrance of the jasmine and gardenias blooming in my yard. Feeling the coolness of the night air on my skin, I thought about that song, the one that reminded that in a memory is not where I want to live all the time.
Reaching down I petted the purring cat that curled itself around my legs, then I made my way out of the darkness into the welcoming light of home singing softy to myself.
“Don’t look back the spirits cry
“Just be glad to be alive.
“Everything that you need is right here …
“Everything that you love is right here…”