Math, men, manners, magical moments, marriage, meals, meadows, moderation, mothers, music.
Boy, there are a lot of words that begin with “M”. I’m thankful for math because I like things to add up. I’m definitely thankful for men. I’m thankful for manners especially in a world where it seems in short supply. I’m thankful for my marriage and the institution as a whole. I’m thankful for meals, meadows, mothers, and music.
But today I’m thankful for magical moments because they’re few and far between. I’ve been lucky. I can immediately think of two.
My husband traveled a lot for a number of years and I was fortunate to tag along a few times due to his seemingly infinite frequent flyer miles. One such trip was to Bar Harbor, Maine. We walked around the town, browsing in the shops. We stopped for lunch. The weather was perfection. We heard music coming from somewhere so we followed the sound. We ended up at the harbor. 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 we were enjoying the music. It was soft and kind of haunting. Beautifully eerie.
The fog started to clear. 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. As the fog slowly lifted shapes, barely discernible, came into view. It was the “tall” sail ships you see in the movies sometimes. All this time the music was playing and just as the fog completely lifted and the music reached its crescendo they all came into view, gliding across the water, sails billowing softly. One followed another until they were lined up across 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 next magical scene was in Amsterdam. It was my first trip to the Netherlands and I was looking forward to seeing all the tulips and flowers as it was early spring. However, we landed in Amsterdam during a very rare snowstorm. There hadn’t been one in over forty years and never in the spring. We sat on the tarmac for quite awhile as the runway was icy. Finally, we departed the plane and headed into town via taxi. It was late and so I didn’t see too much. I was aware of the snow on the ground and was more concerned that I didn’t have any warm clothes.
We checked into our hotel (the weirdest hotel room I’ve ever been in, but it was right on a canal so that made it perfect). Even though we were exhausted, we were also hungry so we decide to brave the weather and find a restaurant. We put on as many clothes as we could and headed out to find a restaurant. We followed the narrow brick roads winding between the old, tall, lopsided buildings.
We turned a corner and what I saw was as if I had stepped back in time. For a moment I thought we had. Bike riders were everywhere even though the snow was fairly deep and heavy. Even though it was Amsterdam and biking is the normal mode of transportation, who expects people to bike in deep snow? How is it even possible?
But what made it magical 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 Nordic wear, ski hats or ski coats. I thought I’d stepped into a Hans Christian Anderson book. I didn’t see one person, riding or not, that wasn’t addressed in vintage-type clothing. 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 any of this real?
When we got back to our strange hotel room (it was strange because it had a sloped ceiling leading down to the windows and in order to see outside we had to sit on the floor) we stayed in the dark and stared out the window. It was breathtaking. The snow, The canal. The barges. We felt as if we’d traveled back in time.
I hope I’ve even come close to describing these two experiences. My husband and I still get all breathless when we think about them. There have been others but these two immediately came to mind. I wish this for all of you. Magical moments.