“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand — and melting like a snowflake.” — Francis Bacon
How much of life do we spend waiting? We wait for the bus, the plane, the train. We wait until we are tall enough to ride the big-kid rides at the fair. We wait until we are 21 to legally drink alcohol. To vote. To stay up late past our bedtime. To get our driver’s license. To move away and go on an adventure. To buy our first car. We wait for the plane to land and for our first kiss and for graduation from university. We wait for promotions, raises, benefits, and bonuses. We wait for love — true love — to enter into our lives. We wait. And wait.
And then there are the snowflake moments. We don’t wait for ice cream to melt. We don’t wait until the last of the chocolates are gone from the box. We don’t wait for our vacation on Kauai’ to be over. And we don’t wait for love to end. Like that incredible sunset on Kaua’i, we want love to last forever. And forever — because it is just so much fun and feels so great. It really does. We are just so lucky when we discover a Snowflake Moment.
These moments feel rare. I read once that one inch of rain is the equivalent of approximately ten inches of snow. That is a lot of snowflakes. It takes a lot of them to get my attention. But when they do, I am so happy.
It doesn’t take a social scientist to see a pattern here. We don’t wait for these Snowflake Moments because we like these moments. We find pleasure in them. Savor them. When they arrive, we feel supremely happy. Sometimes they are over far too soon. We share them and we tell our friends about them later. We take pictures of them and post them to our social media page. We write about them in our journals and maybe even make a scrapbook to better remember them. We want them to last. We are in the moment. The joys of coincidence and spontaneity can be found in the Snowflake Moments.
I used to live at a high elevation on the snowy side of the mountains. I shoveled a LOT of snow. I shoveled the cabin roof, the woodshed roof, and the cellar roof to prevent damage or even collapse. I shoveled snow away from the windows to prevent the surprise of broken glass and to allow some sunlight to stream into the windows. I have shoveled my truck out of ditches and paths for hauling water. I have done my share of what best can be described as Battling the Snow. When I read this quote from Francis Bacon, I wish that I would have read it before I experienced all of those winters in such mighty snow. I do believe that I would have gained a better perspective on digging out after a 3-day storm.
I would have told myself: Life is short. True, there is a lot of shoveling to be done, but just Begin. Focus on the moment. Not on the blessed Chinook that will eventually start to blow come March and that will take care of the ice on the lake and the snow on the trail. A reprieve is in sight: no more shoveling for another 5 months. Whew. I made it with all muscles intact.
Life feels so different now. I am mindful of cultivating some sense of Focus . . . on Now and Try Something New and Begin. I am learning that the fleeting fragility of snowflakes is truly very beautiful. Stacks upon stacks of them . . . maybe not so much! But they are gone so quickly.
I love what Francis Bacon has written: “We have only this moment.” So beautiful.