“Life is now,” I heard him say, and he said it like it was, indeed, fact. I pondered it over in my head, rolled it over and over, because those three words were powerful.
Life is now, not yesterday and certainly not tomorrow. We aren’t promised another trip to the ocean or to Texas to see our friends, or to the store to buy something we just have to have, or to the mountains so we can see the sky from ten thousand feet up, one last time. Life is now, which means we aren’t promised love or grandchildren or a piece of cherry pie, because it hasn’t happened, and life is now.
Life is now, and when I look out I see a sky of blue and when I look down I see hands that aren’t young any more. Life is now, and I see when I look up again a car passing by the house, and robins hopping around the wet, green grass because it rained yesterday. I see dirt on the front steps, because I hadn’t swept it away, and I hear thunder rolling in the distance. Life is now.
Life is now, and I close my front door and walk into my kitchen. Why is it that we always want something different, something other than what we have in front of us? A different counter, a newer stove, different dishes, fresh, new towels. Life is now. Life is now as I look at kitchen towels that I have used a hundred times, and they’re faded because I’ve used them over and over. And the counter tops, they are scratched because I haven’t always used a cutting board like I should have. Life is now. Life is now when I look at my aunt’s dishes in my cupboards, and see my old coffee maker that doesn’t always work the way I’d like it to. Life is now, when I hear music playing in the background, a sad country music song about mountains and missing home. Life is now.
Life is now, not yesterday, because yesterday is far away. It’s in my memory bank, and I can go to it and pull out things when I want to feel better. Mostly, I look back on yesterday because I need to feel better. I miss the smell of the ocean, I miss the feel of sand between my toes, I mourn my children, because they aren’t little any more. I mourn the death of their childhood, I mourn the days I didn’t always know were good days…I spent so much of my time wishing things were different, that they would change, and oh…it changed and…Life is now.
Life is now, where we have cell phones and flat screen TV’s, and I miss my little, orange transistor radio. But it’s gone, and life is now, where things happen in an instant, and you don’t have to take a picture and peel away the plastic and wait for the picture to develop, because life is instant. I guess it always was.
Life is now, and I have a house and a place to sleep at night, and when the sun dips down and hides I look up and see stars, millions of them, and I get a blanket and spread it on the grass and look up at a myriad of stars, and yes, Life is now. Life is now, but then I see a comet shower and I wonder how the death of a star is so brilliant…when a star dies, it still emits a beautiful light and it’s amazing to me that death can bring life. Life is now.
As I lay in the grass, deep into the evening, I smell the cool of the grass and the Russian Olive trees that bloom and perfume the air, and I feel a light breeze on my arms and my face and I stare up at the heavens and see a few more stars fall — to say they are dying is too much for me to think about — they are as alive to me as my own flesh. Yes, life is now.
Life is now, even though I don’t know where my children always are. Life is now, and it won’t pause for me because I’m pondering or I have lost something or I have made a brilliant discovery. No, life goes and goes and goes and even when I hold my breath I cannot make it stop or pause or even slow down. It doesn’t work that way, although I sometimes wish it would.
Life is now, but I still look back and there is my memory bank again. I still remember the first time I felt water, truly felt water, and I was wading in the street and I was maybe four years old, and the heavy rains came that evening, which didn’t happen much in that little town, and my parents let me run without shoes and they didn’t worry about me cutting my feet, they just let me feel. They let me live! I’m certain it was one of my first gifts! I felt the rain on my face and the rough pavement beneath my feet and the warm rain wash over me and it was my first taste of heaven. And then it became cold and I ran to my parents, where they sat on the little front porch. It was the first and last time I believe such a thing happened. Life is now, I’m sure my soul must have felt back then, and I was surely living in the moment and I know I didn’t have a care in the world, not one, single, solitary care!!!! Life is now and I didn’t know it then because I was living!!!!
I take a deep breath, because life IS now.
Life is not what is behind me in that little town so long ago. Life is not what’s ahead, because there are no promises.
No, Life is Now.
Life is watching my mother rearrange flowers in her vase, and it’s watching hummingbirds flit and dance and streak across the sky. The hummingbirds are free, living now, not thinking ahead.
Life is now.
It’s life when the young colt bolts across the pasture and suddenly three more join him and the hooves pound and the dance is fast and hard and sure. Life is now.
Let me try to remember that Life is not what happened as much as what is happening. Life is plunging my hands into an icy Colorado river, and seeing deer on the side of a hill. Life is living with eyes open and I want to live!
Human nature has us looking back and human nature has us looking forward. But really, human nature is Now. And if it isn’t, it should be.
Who said not to worry about tomorrow? That tomorrow will take care of itself?
Now is now, and will never come again.
When I walk down the ditch and the old Cottonwoods bend over me, and the late evening sun peeks through, I must remember that life is now. Life is now, when the ducklings float alongside their mother in the water, and peacocks cry out and a squirrel darts in front of me.
Life is now, and it isn’t tomorrow or even five minutes from now.
We plan. Yes, how we plan.
But nothing is promised about life except Now.
Life is now, when I watch a sunrise and it’s new for the first time, because the colors swirl and entwine in such a way that it will never be again, not exactly, because nothing can ever be exact, all over again.
Look up at the stars, feel the soft wind on your skin, take in the mountain air and let your eyes rest on the wildflowers that grow with abandon, because Life is now.
Life is now, not yesterday, and certainly not tomorrow.
Live life and feel its glory and let life be your heart’s beat.
It will never be again, and we must remember that life is our gift. Open it and live.
Life is now.