The Moment

Photo © Arkansas State Parks

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake.” ~Marie Ray


December 3 – Moment
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author:
Ali Edwards) [The #reverb10 project.]


The sun is high and hot. The earth is cracked and dry. I sit. Smudges of dirt and clay accumulate on the khaki capri pants I donned hours earlier in the cool of an air conditioned morning. Unshod, my feet rest at the bottom of a hole recently dug. A shovel caked in clay lies to the side. Ten toes unconsciously wiggle in the dust that feathers down from the square sifters I hold. Chunks of earth, broken by hand, and pushed through widely spaced wire become small… easier to investigate. Schhhhh. Schschhhh. Schshhhhh. The sound of pebbles sliding back and forth across the wire netting drowns muffled voices of other diggers… young and old… scattered across the plowed field. The birds are resting. It is too hot. The trees are silent. There is no breeze. Silt and chaff fall. Sunlight lands on what remains. Its bright rays seek for the tell-tale glint of something more. My friend, sitting on the small cooler and digging a few feet away, speaks. She tells a story. We laugh. And, then… more silence. Perfectly comfortable. It’s over 100F now with off-the-chart humidity. Summer in Arkansas. We move in search of shade. Once. Twice. More digging. More searching. Our hope holds out, ever so slight, for that which will not be found. A diamond.

Confession: It’s been far too long since I spent a substantial amount of time (more than an hour or two) outdoors. It’s unnatural for me and yet I allow the pattern to continue. After living in Arkansas, The Natural State, for a non-consecutive twelve years, a friend finally convinced me to accompany her to
Crater of Diamonds State Park. We didn’t really expect to find anything of substance and, materially, we didn’t.

What I did discover was how much I missed being outside. I missed getting dirty. I missed being unplugged. I missed the inevitable sunburn. (Yes, I was wearing sunscreen but it’s been so long since I enjoyed the sun that I am, without doubt, the most non-vampire "vampire white" human of my own acquaintance.) I missed the tomboy who would sit in the red clay of East Africa for hours and build roads for the toy cars she stole from her older brother. I missed the girl who would climb a tree and swing in the breeze. My children don’t even know that girl. Did I even still know her?

I spent four, maybe five, hours in that field. I left with a filthy, dirt covered body… and a newly polished soul brighter than any diamond. I realized what living felt like again. Value? Priceless.

3 comments:

  1. Beautiful post! My eyes teared up for that little girl you miss. Sounds like you found her - and I'm hoping you introduce her to your children!! I'm going looking for mine (little girl) now. Thanks for this. (vampire-white cracked me up)

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  2. Love this - I can feel the dirt, and feel how it triggered you missing a part of yourself that had been latent for so long. I know that craving to sleep outdoors, too...

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  3. Karen ~ I did! My boys are enjoying knowing her too... bit by bit.

    Amanda ~ Oh, I haven't slept outdoors in forever. I should do something about that.

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"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" ~Walt Whitman

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