A “Moment” – The healing Powers of a Summer Night in Sydney

Coop Barina1

Moment – definition – Merriam-Webster Dictionary

1. a minute portion or point of time : instant; 2. a comparatively brief period of time; 3. a time of excellence or conspicuousness.

Moment – definition – mine

1. a blessing; a slice of time that is transformative in which everything is aligned to achieve a temporary glance on Nirvana.  Where colors are different; the air is softer; the psyche less burdened.

My first “moment” came to me shortly after I moved from Los Angeles to Sydney, after a period of such profound loss that the only thing that made sense was to put as much distance as possible between myself and the pain that threatened to unravel me completely.  Slowly as the South Pacific sun melted the grief of the north, I began to feel my fingers, and then my toes.  Soon, my senses returned and my smile, though tentative at first,  began to appear with more regularity.  It was around this time I experienced my first “moment”, which came suddenly and unexpectedly, ultimately releasing me from the tether of grief that had spun me south and away from the people I loved most in the world.

It was a warm summer evening in Sydney.  We were in Crown Street having dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant.  Sitting at a table by a window on the second floor, my then three-year old son Cooper absently-mindedly dangling his bamboo toy fishing pole out the window, gradually lowering the line, then reeling it up, lowering and reeling, lowering and reeling.  At one point, Cooper let out all the line, causing the plastic hook to plop onto the head of an unsuspecting and peckish patron, queued up outside, waiting for a table to open up.  Realizing what had happened, I craned my neck out the window, fairly confident that we had irritated someone, and ever hopeful we hadn’t put anyone’s eye out (classic mom-ism).   I spied our victim – a 20-something male, and as I opened my mouth to apologize, he stopped me with an upwards glance and a smile which seemed to say, “Don’t worry.  You’re OK.  Its all fine.”

After dinner, we took a drive around the Opera House and my favorite, the Botanical Gardens, my vortex, as I called it, the place I instinctively went when I felt fragile and needed soothing, as if in a mother’s arms.  That night, driving through Sydney, with the top down on my bright blue “beep beep” Barina, a favorite CD providing comfort and security in its familiar rhythms, stars so bright you could reach up and scoop them out of the Southern sky.  My partner (soon husband – I knew even then) next to me, and my gentle son sitting in his car seat, now trolling his fishing line out of the open back.  There we were, we three, completely caught up in the magic of the moment as our little car carried us to a place of complete all-senses-engaged perfection.

Much later, I came to realize the significance of that evening as a prelude to a sea change in my life.  And for as long as I live, I will never forget the image of a bamboo fishing pole quietly dangling out of the back seat of a blue convertible, as its little fisherman, my precious cargo – calmly sitting with his baseball cap turned sideways – gets on with the business of reeling in the stars.

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