Thursday, March 24, 2011

Living in the Land of Here and Now

"With your nose in a book, you see so little."  I hear Henry say this in some far distant recess of my mind as we ride down the road.  I'm sure that earlier I also heard him say something about the purple blooming trees and a '52 Ford truck - both times I probably looked up briefly and said "uh-huh", my favorite words for feigning interest in what he's viewing while I have my "nose in a book".  I look up again and see nothing that I haven't seen before, but in the book I'm reading I see Africa through the eyes of Jane Goodall.  If I look out our car window, I won't see apes and chimps and rivers full of crocodiles.

As I stop reading my book for a moment and look at the scenery passing by, I realize he may be right.  By living in Jane's world, I am missing part of mine.  I see blooming dogwood trees, fresh new green growth on the pines and I see the newborn baby asleep in his infant seat in the car beside us at the stoplight.  I see life unfolding as he sees it.  A life that we share - the here and now.   It dawns on me that we won't always have the here and now together.  We all know that life is fragile.  My dear friend, Annette tells me to treasure every moment together.  She lost her sixty-three year old husband recently to a brain aneurism.  Another friend our age died last summer of a heart attack.  My friend and cousin who was recently diagnosed with cancer has learned to treasure her here and now moments with her husband of forty-five years.

As we continue our drive through the country, we talk companionably about the kids, grandkids, what we're going to have for dinner.  A mundane conversation - one like Annette would love to be sharing with Dillon right now.

I slide my book back in my purse.  "You can wait Jane Goodall", I say quietly to myself.  "Stay right here until I get back.  While Henry's watching TV tonight, I'll ride with you in the bush plane over Tanzania.  I'll sit at your campfire in Gombe.  I'll watch as you research the violent behavior of chimpanzees and I'll help you mourn the loss of your husband - your soulmate, Derek.  But for now, I'll step out of your book and live in the Land of Here and Now."

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