These warm autumn days have been perfect for our morning walk. We leave the house, the five year old springing down the road like a jubilant Spaniel let off the lead. We look for the helicopters of the Sycamore, throwing them with all our might and watching them twirl to the ground. The green of leaves seeps away, replaced with red, yellow, orange, brown. Acorns and beech masts crunch beneath our feet; we stretch into the hedgerows for the last of the season’s blackberries and toss a few into our mouths.

Time is passing. I want to bottle these moments.  If I could, I’d uncap the bottle later, wave it beneath my nostrils, inhale deeply and experience them again and again and again.

I would close my eyes and smell washing hanging on the line, autumn breezes lifting the scent of leaves and cones, the top of my son’s warm head. I would remember the cool, slim fingers of my eldest child’s hand resting within mine. I would remember the gratitude in my heart that she still wants to hold my hand, and my worry that today might be the last time she willingly does.  I would remember the little ponytail at the back of my daughter’s head, how the soft, downy baby hairs beneath it curl at the nape of her neck. I would remember the slap-slap-slapping sound of my son’s feet as he runs gleefully ahead of me.

Last night I lay beside my youngest child and listened to the sound of his breath as he dropped off to sleep. He mewed a contented sound, one that only he can make. A sound that only I have heard. His dusty lashes flickered against his freckled cheek. I recalled the day he was born, when he lay his cheek against my chest and slept contentedly as I watched him. I didn’t sleep that first night. I was too busy memorising him, falling in love with him. After spending nine months carefully folded within me, like a tight bud, that night he gradually unfurled himself in my arms.

I’ve started writing down the little things the children say and do, so that one day I can go back and remember what it was like. But I rarely, if ever, write down the mundane stuff that comprises our everyday life. Those are the things I want to remember the most, but I lack the words to describe the little things. I want to hold on to what it feels like to be here in this present moment.

It came to me, the day before my son’s birthday, that I would never again be the mother of a four-year-old. The realisation was as poignant and uncomfortable as a stitch in my side. Even now, though I continue on with each day, that stitch, of knowing that these children are growing up, remains with me.  I want to put it all in a bottle, stow it in my pocket, and in quiet moments retrieve it to take a secret, quiet sniff.

But then I wonder, while I’m doing that, what would I be missing? Eyes fixed on that bottle, fussing with the lid, what little things would evade my notice? To spend too much time thinking of what I’m missing, I’d be missing what I’ve already got. No. The only way is to remain in the present moment, to cherish each whiff of the now, to inhale deeply of every moment of family life. The memories will always be there, but this moment is passing quickly away. And it is too vast, too expansive, too rich to be confined within a bottle.

©2014 Lisa Hassan Scott.

Thank you to Amanda at Writealm for providing the prompt for this post, “flicker.”

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The transience of the moment
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10 thoughts on “The transience of the moment

  • 02/10/2014 at 7:11 pm

    A beautiful post about mindfulness and presence. Thank you for sharing. <3

    • 02/10/2014 at 7:41 pm

      Thank you ever so much.

  • 02/10/2014 at 7:34 pm

    it’s a bit of a tightrope walk, isn’t it? the remembering of moments, the choice to be present and fully alive. i find myself teetering between the two.

    • 02/10/2014 at 7:42 pm

      Yes, exactly. Always being drawn from one to the other. Two sides of the same coin.

  • 02/10/2014 at 9:41 pm

    You’ve left me with a warm glow. Thank you.x

    • 02/10/2014 at 9:55 pm

      You’re so sweet 🙂

  • 03/10/2014 at 4:55 pm

    A beautifully written post Lisa. But I still think there’s value in the bottle of memories… that’s why, I guess, wine is so popular! It’s bottled memories of fields of grapes, sunshine, summer… And the moment that it takes to savour it is a pleasure for the one savouring it, perhaps affording them a little moment of relaxation, a little moment with their own thoughts… and there’s comfort in that. 😉

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us 🙂

    • 05/10/2014 at 8:34 pm

      Thanks Marija. I love your metaphor– yes wine is a bottle of memories too! But if we spend too much time with that bottle, problems arise, don’t they? As long as it’s a “little moment,” as you say– yes, I agree with you. But I want my attention to be on the here and now, rather than seeking solace in a bottle (of wine or otherwise! haha)

  • 03/10/2014 at 8:50 pm

    If I could, I’d save a day from my each of my children’s babyhoods to take out and gently finger like a soft piece of cloth later on…but you know, it’s okay that I can’t. I was there and I held onto those moments as they happened as much as I could at the time (the year after my middle child’s emergency c-section preemie birth is hazy). This is also why I’m okay giving away the Thomas backpack and the outgrown baby hooded towels and the toddler walker wagon. My young kids and their lives aren’t in those objects. {Sappiness alert} They’re in my hearts, and the older versions are right in front of me. <3

    • 05/10/2014 at 8:32 pm

      Yes. Beautiful. You’re absolutely right. One day from each child’s babyhood? It’s not too much to ask, is it? But there is this necessity to let go of what we’ve already lived, to make space for the living that needs to be done now.

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