The sky is a deep gray, almost black, with a hint of deep violet peaking through underneath. The ambient light from the city is too persistent for the sky to ever hit a pure black note. I drive across town at night more often these days, and there is this perfect moment that I capture almost every time. Music has a certain quality when played in the car, it fills up the whole space with no apologies and you can lose yourself in it. Usually when I feel as though I am losing myself in a sensation, I dissolve, which is what makes these moments so special. With the sultry violins and deep drum tempos of viking metal, or Alice Cooper wailing out a song of heartbreak, or a bagpipe helping tell a story of a war once lost in Ireland, the music takes hold and gently guides my thoughts, and then I hit this magic point where the city around me crystallizes. Suddenly everything is starkly clear. The colonial buildings with their discordant Victorian touches, some neglected and left to crumble after standing a hundred years, they are beautiful to me in this moment. The city is trapped between buildings of rich living history, new cold modern growth, and the constant decay that permeates the low income neighborhoods of every town. It feels raw, each person in the street with their own story, each brick laid by human hands, and driving through the puddles that muddy up the streets I feel a connection to everything around me. I belong in the country, but the haunting quality of the city at night captures me in those moments every time. There is an endless feeling of loneliness and connection in those moments. Every time I lose myself in the feeling of realness, of a world with such clarity where the sights and smells and emotions overwhelm, I feel alive with a vibrating intensity. It is a specific moment that I only seem able to capture in the city alone, with the music blaring, as humanity unfolds around me. Somehow despite my life being filled with so many brilliant people who bring me joy and love, and so many exciting adventures and new growth, I cherish these moments just as highly. They feel like magic.
There are other magical moments in my life. Ones where the whole world seems perfectly in place, everything gains that shiny extra-real character, and being alive is the most wonderful thing. I want to freeze the moment I felt when I found the perfect coffee cup, when I held it and knew it was just right. I was bent on minimalism at the time, still am in my way, but that perfectly crafted material object that was completely the opposite of every style I normally like, fit into my hand perfectly and just gave me such profound joy. A fucking coffee cup. Every time I use it, I get a shadow of that moment replayed, and it enhances my day, subtly lifting it a bit above ordinary.
Once when walking I saw a patch of daylilies growing over someones garden fence. I stopped and just stared while people walked by, I had forgotten the color orange could be so beautiful and intense. I suppose depression plays a factor, maybe most people live in a world that is bright all the time, but I know that mine won’t always be and hasn’t always been. The precious jewel of a moment where a flower becomes the center of the world and can take my breath away, I cherish that.
Lately I’ve recognized there magical moments more and more. It started with driving home across town at night more often. My life changed radically when a partnership that had centered around cohabitation suddenly became one of distance. It was a good change, one that strengthened that relationship, and also pushed me into a focus on my own personal growth, but it was a hard change. And nightly drives alone became a familiar trend, after I spent the day laughing with him at his father’s home where he now lived, or dropped him off after a day at our home where he still spends near half his time. Those magical moments when driving back happened more, and it clicked in my head that this was not something that had to be an infrequent gift of chance. I could learn to cultivate these moments, but really immersing myself in my experiences and welcoming the world in. I could learn to live in moments of beautiful clarity, feeling vibrantly alive wasn’t a passing fancy anymore.