At the end of my life’s journey, just before the sea met the sand, there had been three moments. The tiny, variegated orbs sat neatly grounded and bound with a feather.
Standing before this scene, I carefully unfolded a small piece of note paper and read:
See at this sea, a moment in threes.
Each feather a glimpse of all that is to be.
Choose with care, as only a moment contains the key.
There is no return path. Time is always free.
I walked towards the first moment. It held the feather of a wren. I gently brushed the feather with my fingers and felt my body quicken. The darkness was deep and full, but in the dull light of my mind’s eye, I could see silhouettes moving about a flickering candle.
I breathed in the fragrant aroma of my memaws hot water corn bread. Without moving, I could see about me my ma and memaw. They were laughing together as they worked. Their laugher was a favorite childhood memory, and I soaked in the sound. Ma’s belly was round and heavy with the weight of me. My entire being was filled with comfort, protection, and joy.
Unquickened, I looked about me and realized that my body was drenched in sweat. The sea looked peaceful and welcoming. I made my way to the second moment, a raven feather. Without hesitation I touched the silky black quill, and in an instant I was transported to a busy office floor.
This had been my first real job. Clever and well-liked, the hours I had spent on this floor were not long. I moved through the corporate ranks quickly. Soon, I would become chief financial officer, but not without sacrifice. There, in this moment, sat the love of my life. We eventually married, but my drive and yearning for prestige and power did not leave much time to focus on a meaningful relationship. Frequent work trips that interrupted important family events, and a regular seventy hour work week were the norm. Even when surrounded by family, my mind was consumed by my work. A deep despair washed over me, as I realized the squandered moment. Hurt to my core, my stomach knotted and seized. The painful truth reverberated through my body.
Suddenly, the pain stopped, and I realized I had returned to the beach. It was now windy and the ocean turbulent. After serious consideration to return to the first moment, I decided to experience the glimpse of the final moment.
Once there, I saw the delicate plume of a humming bird. The iridescent glow of crimson was breathtaking. I was lost in its beauty and reluctantly brushed the tip of my forefinger against it. I closed my eyes waiting for some effect. Instead, there was a steady but slow intensification of all of my senses. I could taste the salt of the sea and hear the playful croaking of the Great Blue Herons. The ocean breeze sent the smell of sulfides through my nostrils. Barefoot, I felt the residue of the sun’s heat on the sandy beach. I slowly opened my eyes to the melded purples and oranges surrounding a setting sun.
Fully in this moment, free from time, I was most alive. My entire body shook with laughter until tears fell from the corners of my eyes. Free from the constraints of time or memory, I stood reeling in the presence of life.