Red Moments

March 16th, 2010

When I was coming home from work today, I was listening to a reading of The Diviner by Seamus Heaney. I've been preoccupied with how difficult it is for me bring magic or holiness or just attentiveness to each day, and after listening to this poem, I wanted to possess the diviner's secret, to be able to find something hidden, mysterious, life-giving -- buried treasure in every day. Maybe we all have that within our grasp but we ignore the gift, waste it or don't even suspect it exists. I know that not every minute of my day can be a gilded scene from an illuminated manuscript like this Madonna that watches over my office, but perhaps there are moments that I don't notice or that seem too small to be significant. Like driving over the bridge today and watching the setting sun strike the bright red hull of a distant container ship out on the horizon and linger there transforming it into a piece of temporary poetry. I always want the road-to-Damascus transformative spiritual or creative moment, but maybe William Carlos Williams offers another route to enlightenment:

So much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

6 Responses to “Red Moments”

  1. Jen says:

    I love that poem.

    And your post.. Strangely, I was thinking about this very thing last night. Last week my husband dropped his wallet at a theatre downtown. They finally called to let him know it was there, so we took a drive to pick it up. Tampa theatre is amazing: built in the 20’s, it’s ornate and beautiful, with a marquee front that takes you back in time immediately. It’s also located on a tree lined brick street with tall buildings all around. We arrived before the evening box office opened. Sitting in the car, we shared the lovely street with only one other person: a tall man playing a saxophone. He played song after song while we waited. The acoustics were amazing and the songs should have been enchanting, but for some reason.. I felt nothing. I didn’t realize until later that night that I even wanted to. After all, this is the sort of thing that I cherish: Random moments of spontaneous beauty.

    We watched and listened for 15 minutes until the office opened. And not once did I feel inspired or connected or even a tinge of the magic of that moment that should have enveloped me. I woke up this morning still thinking about that, only to find this post. Wondering if maybe the ability to connect with wonderful experiences isn’t a cumulative thing? You notice something small, then something larger, then something larger.. until you begin to experience wonder on a daily basis. Maybe, like creativity, it just takes practice.

    Thanks for the reminder that wonder needs to be let in sometimes. I think I’ll take your advice and start with the small things.

  2. nikki says:

    It’s so peculiar really how dailiness overwhelms our senses to the point that we are almost numbed to the miraculous? Glad I’m not the only one to experience this.

  3. Thanks for the reminder.

    I’ve been in a shit storm this week and if I don’t make the choice to find the miraculous, then I join those who harm me.

    I deserve the moments of wonder.

  4. ida b. says:

    I plan to complete my homework this weekend. Want to plan show and tell for next Saturday or Sunday? I’ve picked our April homework: alters. Shoebox or otherwise. Okay with you?

  5. nikki says:

    I haven’t even started! But yes, having a deadline will nudge me. It’s the only way I can work or play evidently.

  6. pw says:

    Just had one of those moments myself last Friday: I walked into the living room and was stunned by the vision of a single sunbeam highlighting the bromeliad on the coffee table in the center of the room. It was such a powerful image, a vibrant jewel-toned mosaic, that I was weak with joy. It lasted for all of thirty seconds -an image I could easily have missed had I walked into the room just moments later- yet it seemed an eternity had passed while I absorbed the scene.

    I think these miracles are everywhere but you have to be open to seeing them.

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