Dragonflies winged their way inches above the water’s surface, as I stood on the dock with a fishing rod in my hand, threading a squirming worm onto a hook. Melissa stood beside me, cringing in her posture at the task at hand. We were 7.
The lake was not much more than a swamp-thick patch of water surrounded by woods at the edge of the camp. Just the two of us stood on the silent dock with a counselor watching over our attempts. I’m pretty sure in one of those moments I hooked my finger and felt that piercing sting of metal into skin. But in memory, all I can hear are the far-off swingset squeals and, where we stood, the clicking of insects and mirror-stillness of the water.
Many times, I have stood in a moment and not tried to escape with thought. That’s what my entire last week has been – a series of sensory moments, strung together into a necklace of being, gleaming so in the sunlight that it’s almost blinding.
And then I returned home. It’s foolish to think that a life can simply be a series of moments and nothing more. No one is like that. Ideas about what the future holds creep in like the spider crawling across the ceiling; he’s there one moment when he wasn’t before and I have a choice: to stand on the bed and extend my arm until I reach him, smash him, flush him down the toilet, or let him continue on his crawl to whatever end he has in sight.
More often, I smash him. I listen to the fear and give in – what if I let him live and, when I am sleeping, he crawls his way across my bare skin and bites me? It’s happened before.
But then there are the times when spiders lurk away from the radar of my vision and I have no idea that they’re there and I don’t get bitten. Our paths don’t even cross.
Fear is arrogant. What if I get hurt? But what if I don’t? What if I am never touched, never? I kill him just in case? It sounds stupid from where I sit, instant hysteria, for what? I never quite consider the good his presence can bring, only the potential bad.
It’s 4:30 in the morning and I should be asleep. But I’m hungry and I’m thinking and, well, I’m awake. Not much food in the house, since I only returned twelve hours ago, but there was an apple so I ate it and now I’m not as hungry. Some moments are like that.
And then there are moments worth repeating, moments worth lingering in. Moments meant for the deepest of breaths, breaths that fill your entire body and then you are new.
I’m getting rather good at living in my moments. And so, back upon the homefront, camp and grocery-shopping and swimming lessons and dinner at my parents’ house all on the schedule ahead of me, and oh yes, work, I am going to try hard to not look at each day as a series of things to check off – but rather, a sequence of ever-important mundane moments in which I have the chance to become a little more alive.