|Something very cool happened to me this morning--well, okay, it wasn't technically morning anymore, but as far as I'm concerned, anything that happens before I eat breakfast is still morning.|
I went to the supermarket, and just as I had got out of the house it had started up a pretty good downpour (this isn't the cool part yet, just hang on). The supermarket was pretty packed, this being a Sunday sorta-morning, and I had to park at the far end of the lot, and got good and wet before I got into the store. It was very grey and darkish outside.
But after I'd gathered and paid for my supplies, a glorious spectacle burst upon my sleepy eyes as I came out of the store: a wonderful blue swimming over the parking lot, road, and houses beyond. (Yes, this was the cool part.) The clouds had somehow parted in the western sky, the way I was facing, while the rest of the sky, including the sun, remained cloaked in heavy grey clouds. The rain had stopped, and the clear blue of the western sky reflected a gorgeous light sapphire sheen over the cement and cars, all shiny with their new rain. It wasn't dazzlingly bright, what with the sun behind the thick clouds, but rather sublimely saturated with that divine blue hue. I couldn't help but break out in a big smile as I wheeled my cart across the puddley parking lot, the fresh rain-cleaned air blowing gently against my face. The spectacle may have had a heightened effect on me since the previous week had been quite cloudy, rainy and indoors for me. At any rate, it was breathtaking.
For that brief moment, at any rate. As I swung my food bags into the car and returned the shopping cart the rain started down again, and I made my way quickly into the driver's seat for shelter. The blue radiance seemed to have died down as the rain closed back in. As I drove home, it occurred to me as I mulled things over that perhaps the most memorable encounters with beauty are those that are fleeting; we recognize that the coincidence of factors that made them possible was very rare, and we may never see them again, so we try to impress them in our memory as firmly as we can. But that doesn't work: the encounter itself gets loose and drops out somewhere, leaving a sort of lumpy impression in the general shape of the thing. I know that I've had several such experiences before, but they fade, and only the memory of being witness to an event of surpassing beauty remains, rather than a photographic memory of the beautiful view itself.
But I don't know, maybe that's for the best, too. And these things shouldn't occur too often, or I'd start taking them for granted. No, probably once every few years is best--time enough for me to have forgotten the details, but not the impression, of the previous encounter.