Two days ago, I arrived home from a trip out of town around 11:00pm and parked the car in my dark driveway.  The next morning, I went out at 9:00am and got into the driver’s seat. There, directly at eye level, attached to the steering wheel and to the frame of the door, was a perfectly symmetrical spider web.  I felt an immense pang of guilt clearing the threads away with my hand, even though I had to in order to drive, and I was probably doing the spider a favour since it wasn’t likely to catch a lot of bugs there.  The guilt came not only from the feeling that I was destroying something at which the spider had laboured, but also from the sense that I was negating a moment.

Nearly a decade ago, I was attending a wedding near Mont Tremblant, Quebec, and, feeling a little overwhelmed by the noise and activity around me, I decided to take a walk down by the water in the cooler night breeze.  On my way back up the stairs built into the side of the mountain, I was startled to see a doe grazing on some of the long grasses gracing the slope.  The doe was not more than about 10 feet away from me.  Having spent my life living in cities, the sight of deer has always been something worth stopping to observe.  While I was doing so, a buck suddenly burst out from the bushes, jumping and alighting on a picnic table about 5 feet away from me. It might be an embellishment of my imagination, but I remember the moonlight seeming to shine down directly on the buck, regally crowned by his fantastic antlers.  He stood there majestically, elevated on the picnic table which itself was already positioned at my eye level on a plateau higher up the slope. I froze with fear and amazement. He was protecting the doe against a perceived threat, and it would take only the slightest movement on his part to trample me to death. We remained in a brief stand-off, until he and the doe disappeared into the brush.

Then, five years ago, in our first summer in this house, I went out at night and was inspired by the sight of hundreds of fireflies in our garden. I was alone and felt as if I were gazing upon some beautiful magic.

I am skeptic and a cynic.  I don’t feel that these moments have been anything special on a cosmic level and I am not one to believe in fate or signs.  I believe that we see what we want to see in the world and that any meaning we derive might have value for us, but no value beyond that which we assign it.  The above events are really quite commonplace, everyday occurrences.  But they nevertheless have the power of making me more circumspect.  I pause in these moments and feel as if I am experiencing something brief and important and that I need to pay attention.  I am left thinking that everything I have done in life must have been perfect because it brought me to this place, this moment.  For a little while, the experience washes away all of my regrets.

Today, I am thankful for moments.

Have you had any moments?  Please share them with me in the Comments.