On our last morning in New York, I took a quick look around, at the black and white wallpaper and the framed vintage magazine prints and the chandaliers made of plastic beads and thought, as I did several times over our stay, “I wish I could stay in this happy moment a little bit longer.”
But like summer camp, which was always over way too fast for me, a single week, a weekduring which I lived a whole life, a joyful celebratory time like this one goes fast, too. Like our lives, I suppose, though that sounds darker than I mean it to. I’m only thinking that no time is ever a thing you can grasp.
A month or so, I was hiking with a young friend of mine who said she surprises herself by wondering how she will remember something later. We laughed about the paradox–if you’re thinking about the future, you are not living right now, and so you will remember not what was going on all around you, but remember thinking about what you will think about later.
Writers do tend to think on two levels–one part living in the here and now, another part busy gathering details. Knowing that I will want to remember, I press details into memory, hoping I will remember better. Remember drifting around Central Park while CR ran his miles, taking dozens of photos of trees and thinking about The Green Man, of fairies. Thinking about a tree with bark like a paint-by-number kit, patches of gray and blue and brown, and another that bent like a graceful dancer to the earth, her hair made of thin leaves swaying on the breeze.
I wanted to stay for a telescoping length of time sitting at the window that rainy night in Chelsea with a party across the street, feeling peaceful and calm and happy, with my other son and his girlfriend in the other room watching MTV and style shows. To sit, a few days worth of time, in the Brooklyn apartment my son has now left behind for his new gig in LA, watching he and his brother and cousins play Rock Band while everyone drank margaritas and a bit too much wine. To stand a little longer with my mother on the sunny corner by Zabar’s, and on the subway platform with Ian waiting for his train, that last day.
Time. Beauty. Moments. Time itself as sturdy as knotted rope. All moments as fleeting and thin and wispy as dragonfly wings.