A certain kind of day you step out the door. The first thing you see is thrilling. Intense blue sky, brilliant light, a tree casting shadows across the ground richly green. Speckled lights and patches of shadow are equally strong and distinct shapes like positions on a chessboard. Balmy air envelopes you.
I remember I heard the sounds of birds and insects together. In the random distance someone’s far away percussive shout catches my momentary attention and disappears. I turn and look in that direction. A father yelling instructions to his kids, or a roofer shouting to his crew. The words inaudible are like the sounds of birds, too.
The entire tableau revives an insistent alert as you stand there: all this is real! You are alive — isn’t it thrilling! This is the present. You have awakened a second time today. This time it’s more urgent and sensory.
Sometimes you recover a sensation that you had as a child — that belief that everything is new — which I guess children feel because THEY are new. My daughter at a certain age used to ask me, “Am I still brand new?” And I said, “yes, of course you are.”
Whatever the causes, at virtually any age in life, one sometimes stumbles into the moment of glad awakening. It’s then you stride into the present. You step inside it. It was always there but you’d forgotten to notice. Now you’ve found it again, the lost present, where had I left it? Oh, here it is. Right in front of me! Silly me.
I vow not to lose it again.
When the light is brighter, when smells travel through the nose deep into the brain, becoming elements of a waking dream, movement seems quicker. Do birds fly through the sky with such clean speed this way always? I’ll make a point to notice this again!
I’m suddenly aware of gravity. I notice the earth pulling me toward it. I can feel my feet inside my shoes.
I remember my father’s voice. I know that my mother is inside the house. And here is Everything Else. I felt this way just a few days ago when the weather was uncommonly balmy.