…that untouchable moment



Each day contains a secret moment in time; in that moment, colors belie their nature, music kidnaps our senses, and laughter beats at our hearts like a long-lost friend. We never know when that moment might be or who will inhabit the moment as our day overtakes us. The happy people in life reside in a parade of those moments. We mortals are lucky to experience a handful.

Today, I hung the remainder of the crystals I surprised Dawn with so many weeks ago. Intent on my mundane tasks, I casually forgot that I had done so. The globe crystals went well with the obelisk I had already placed there, facing west.

I went outside to take out the trash and detoured around the house to startle my cat Güino, who was sleepily occupying the chair placed against the street side window. (It’s ‘Bird TV’ for him there, and he can lie there and accompany Dawn as she crazily types at her computer.) As he lazily turned his head to peer over the windowsill, I tapped the glass with a bang and yelled, “Boo!” The cat rewarded me with a total body lift from the chair. I laughed. The neighbor across the street looked over at me, her right hand shielding her face from the sun; undoubtedly, she was gauging what nonsense the gringo might be up to again.

Returning inside, my eyes switched from the glare of the nuclear sunlight outside to the dim confines of my living room. The cat had jumped up to either greet me or bite me, in order to register his contempt for my idiotic scareplay at the window.

I opened the door to the back bedroom and a million shards of polychromatic light greeted me. The crystals had chosen that moment to cascade in a dazzling colorscape. Even though I rarely succumb to such impulses, I wanted to capture the breadth of the surprise all over the ceiling, walls, and contents of the room. Instead of standing there to observe the fleeting barrage of hues, I left to capture the image.

By the time I returned to snap a picture of it, the words of Nate from Six Feet Under resounded in my head: “You can’t take a picture of this. It’s already gone.” And it was – not just the array of colors and shards of color thrown haphazardly about, but the moment of amazement.

I can re-imagine the spectacle of surprise and light, or feebly attempt to share it via failing words with Dawn, but it has departed. It has escaped, after having briefly pushed out the walls of my life for a moment. I have this picture of it, after 90% of it had vanished, a speeding car already in the distance. I can lie in wait tomorrow or another day, hoping to recapture the surprise but these moments are nimble thieves, stealing our precious seconds as we scamper from one possible moment of happiness to another, never tiring of the possibility contained in the moments.

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