Alphabet of thanks: “M”

Today I’m thankful for MAGICAL MOMENTS.

Moments that interrupt our routine and cause us to catch our breath. I’ve been lucky in that I can immediately think of two.

My husband traveled extensively for about ten years and I was fortunate to tag along a few times each year due to his seemingly infinite number of frequent flyer miles. One such trip was to Bar Harbor, Maine.

bar harbor 1
bar harbor 1

We walked around the town, browsing in the shops.  We stopped for lunch. The weather was sunny and warm. Pretty much a perfect day all around.

In the afternoon, we heard music coming from somewhere so we followed the sound. Our journey took us to the harbor where we sat down on the grass, munching some goodies and enjoying the free concert. There were a few small boats in the water.

Suddenly a fog enveloped us. We could barely see even a few feet ahead of us. We lingered because the band kept playing despite the drifting waves of fog. The music was soft and kind of haunting. Beautifully eerie.

Eventually, the fog evaporated. As we looked out over the bay, it was as if a curtain was being drawn back ever so slowly and what emerged was nothing short of magical. Moving shapes, barely discernible, came into view.

It was a caravan of “tall” sailing ships.

All this time the music was playing and just as the music reached its crescendo, the fog completely lifted and all the ships came into view, gliding across the water, sails billowing softly.

tall ships
tall ships

One followed another until they filled the bay. It couldn’t have been better orchestrated had it been a movie. It was surreal.

No one moved.

No one talked.

We were all spellbound.  I will never forget it.

The second magical moment

The next magical scene was in Amsterdam.

It was my first trip to the Netherlands and I was looking forward to seeing the massive collection of spring tulips lining the streets. However, we landed in Amsterdam during a very rare snowstorm. There hadn’t been one in over forty years and never this far into the spring.

We sat on the field for quite a while as the plane was de-iced. Finally, we departed the plane and headed into town via taxi. It was dark and so we didn’t see too much. I was aware of the snow on the ground but was more concerned that I didn’t have any warm clothes.

We checked into our hotel, a very weird designed room, but it was right on a canal so that made it perfect. Exhausted but hungry, we decided to brave the weather and find a restaurant.  We layered on extra clothes and headed out. We followed a narrow brick road winding between the old, tall, lopsided buildings.

We turned a corner and it was as if we’d stepped back in time.

What we saw took our breath away.

People riding bikes were everywhere even though the snow was fairly deep and heavy. Bikes are the common mode of transportation in the Netherlands but who expects people to bike in deep snow? How is it even possible? But there they were. That might have been enough to mesmerize us but it was more than that.

It was how the riders were dressed. Fur hats, long wool coats, colorful scarves, leather boots. Many of the female riders wore dresses. No jeans, no name brand outerwear. The clothing looked vintage.

I thought I’d stepped into a Hans Christian Anderson book.

The scene had a soft, hazy glow interrupted only by the huge lazy flakes dusting the riders. Once again, we were spellbound and speechless. We looked at each other as if to say, is this for real?

When we got back to our weirdly designed hotel room with its sloped ceiling leading down to a two-foot wall so we had to sit on the floor to see outside.

It was breathtaking. The canal, the centuries old houses, the old barges, the snow-covered bridges, we could have been looking at another era.

I probably haven’t come close to describing these two experiences. Words truly do fall short.

My husband and I still get breathless when we think about those two experiences.  There have been others but these two immediately came to mind.

I wish this for all of you.

Magical moments.

And magical moments don’t have to be big. They can be so small as be almost unnoticed.

They happen anywhere and at any time. I think God might call them “grace” moments. Those moments He allows us to experience something beyond ourselves and reminds us Who is the Creator.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.