As I overhead a Niagara-on-the-Lake resident remark in July, at the height of her Canadian resort-town’s summer season: “Any day now we’ll all be talking about the polar vortex again!”
This glorious summer is coming to an end. Farmers’ market peaches are mealy and sad, now, for instance. Did I truly appreciate every peach I ate in July, in August? I wonder. And remember, as I always do when I ask this Did I Truly Appreciate XYZ question, that precious, poignant moment at the end of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town:
EMILY: “Does anyone ever realize life while they live it…every, every minute?”
STAGE MANAGER: “No. Saints and poets maybe…they do some.”
I remember the first time I saw Our Town—sitting beside my mother at a small and shabby community theater in Lynchburg, Virginia. I was fifteen or sixteen. I remember, hearing the Stage Manager’s answer, promising to myself that night: “I will! I will always live my life, ‘every minute,’ with intention, with gratitude, with focus.” (If I’d known the word “mindfulness” I would have added it to my mental list. But I hadn’t. Not at that age. And not in segregated, conservative, sleepy Lynchburg.)
But I haven’t.