Can We Make the Golden Moments Last?
A couple of weeks ago I took my first plane trip since before Covid began. It was a short trip, just a few days to do some work and to see one of my dearest friends. Our friendship stretches back more than a decade. Although we live far apart, we usually see each other three or four times a year, sharing adventures and confidences, laughter and tears. During these past two years, it has all been Zoom. To be together again — well, it was all magical, but one of the days we went on a hike, stopping to listen to the birds, to watch the late afternoon light slant into sunset, to bask in the companionship we had missed for so long. “This is perfect,” my friend said quietly, looking at me. And it was.
The first time a golden moment like this happened to me, I was seven years old, watching the sunrise with my dad as we walked back to our campsite on the beach. Suddenly he stopped and showed me his watch. “It’s 5:55:55,” he said, and I saw the numbers lined up there for what seemed like an infinite second of perfect happiness.
Since then, whenever I see 5:55, morning or afternoon, it always makes me pause and notice what’s happening around me. Will I remember this moment forever, too?
Usually the answer is “no.” For most of my life, the golden moments, when time is suspended, have been rare. Here are a few: Performing on a big stage as a teenager, playing a beautiful piano with a gorgeous tone and realizing I held the audience in my fingertips. My future (now former) husband showing up at my door with an unexpected rose late one summer evening while we were dating. My firstborn asking if he could hold the moon on the way home from the park when he was a toddler. My younger son sleeping on my chest as a newborn while we lay on the couch listening to Schubert sonatas.
So many golden moments are bittersweet: Watching fireworks from the rooftop on college graduation night with my friends before we scattered to the winds. Making lemonade on a rainy afternoon with the children of a sick friend who would die before the year was out. Walking in a city with someone I loved and lost, holding hands for the only time and feeling our fingers interlock as though sculpted from a single…