I’ve been thinking quite a lot lately about the moment. People say it is all one has. The past has gone, the future is not yet here, but there – there – is the moment. If you are very clever, you can live in it.
I find the moment fairly impossible. I’m always thinking about what I’ve got to do in the next ten minutes, the next week, the next year, the next decade. Crack on, I say to myself, eyes cast into the future. Sometimes I feel nostalgic or sad or regretful about the past. I wish I had done that, or said this. Why did I not save for a rainy day? How could I have been so reckless or improvident or foolhardy? (Pick your adjective; they all come home to roost, like cross chickens.) I sometimes think I have been idiotic with time; I should have used it better, packed in more.
Yes, says the one sane voice in my head, who is very quiet and does not always get heard, but that is how you miss your life. Anchor yourself in the moment, says that quiet voice. Ha, says the critical voice, who has had too many negronis and wants to hurl more adjectives around, fucking hippy shit.
This evening, I had a perfect moment. I was running late all day because my car was buggered and there was garage business. I did not take the dogs out for their afternoon rumble until it was dark. But there was a great, graceful moon beaming out of the indigo sky and we could see quite well. Stan the Man and Darwin the Dog roared about, delighted with everything – the grass, the scents, each other, the world – and I walked up to the beech avenue. There, at the old fence, were two gentle shadows. I sensed them before I saw them, all their lovely sweetness and peace flying off them in waves. There were my good mares, dreaming their day away.
It is a huge field, the one they moved in to after the flood, about twenty acres at least. They mostly favour the far western end, up on the hill. I think they like the view. But this evening, in the dear old gloaming, they were at the near fence, as if they were waiting for me.
So I stood with them for a while, and scratched their ears, and told them of their own loveliness, and felt their soft, teddy bear coats, and gazed up at the moon, which was sailing over the dark outlines of the trees like a stately galleon on a Sargasso sea. The dogs gambolled about, playing their own intricate games.
This is your life, I said to myself. This is the moment. Don’t feel bad about the past, or fretful about the future, just stay here for a while, with these kind creatures and this mighty moon and this good Scotland.
It was very fine. It was a moment.
Then my monkey mind said: go in at once and write it down. Write it down, write it down. Which of course is slightly absurd, because the moment should be enough, but I was already thinking of the sentences and contemplating the Dear Readers and wondering what photograph I should choose. The monkey mind can only take so much hippy shit.
It was a moment though. Yes, it was.