Thursday, October 11, 2012

Perfect Days

Sometimes, it seems there are no perfect things: the perfect day for flying will contain the reality of a bladder with less cycle time than the plane's fuel tanks, and the wind leaks and noise of a stripped-down plane. The perfect mountain climb with friends also contains the burning ache in the rebuilt knee as I struggle to get back down. The perfect road trip with Calmer Half usually contains some crabbiness about directions, eating, turns to drive, or something. Bills always come due, even sleep, blood sugar, and oxygen debt to a body that's no longer thirty.

That doesn't stop perfection from being a worthy goal to reach for, and something I often realize I reached in hindsight. It's a good day if no one's shooting at you. It's a good day for me that I can walk. In fact, it's a great day because I'm still breathing, and not eating my salad from the roots up.

I once tried, very hard, to capture perfect moments on camera - to somehow capture the essence of an infectious grin, of the sheer awe of an airplane thundering by right above a runway, the way the sound of an A-10 just makes my heart swell and overflow with feeling as it screams overhead. I ended up with a lot of pictures of little airplanes out of context in a blue sky, or the tail end disappearing out of the frame, or spectacular pictures of my thumb or people's shoes.

Some people go on to master photography, and to gain the skills and the eyes to see how to capture that moment. I went a different route - I put down the camera, and removed the artificial filter between myself and life. My imperfect, often fuzzy memory that drops entire weeks and years, then recalls something vividly after years of forgetting - it will have to do, as I stand there with tears welling up and face hurting from the ear to ear grin while an F-22 pours out pure power in shockwaves that vibrate my ribs like a flag in gusting wind.

I have no pictures from Colorado, either from meeting Sarah Hoyt or from Blogorado, nothing that I'll pull up in ten years to remark on how people have changed, or the things we did once back when. I won't remember the weekend perfectly, and the little things like smoke in my eyes from the cedar fire in the yard (burning old fenceposts, beautiful smell) to the way my lungs tried to turn inside out when Labrat cracked a perfume sample in the same room (really cool names, great scents, just can't breathe)... those will pass quickly away, leaving a large set of memories, like the wonderful conversation in a Thai restaurant between someone who lived through the Portuguese revolutions, someone who lived through those revolutions' affect on a Portuguese colony, and the cross-conversation between two American spouses. I won't remember any cat hair (though you know some must have been involved), only Havelock (a cat I'm certain belongs to the given name) trying to convince me he's sweet and innocent.

I'll remember the grins when other people tried my little PMR-30, the sheer fun of pushing partially-loaded magazines (it gets hard on my tiny hands after 10 rounds, so I stop at 15 for fun shooting) on people to enjoy. The big boom when 'splodey the tannerite pinata deer head disintegrated, of the return of the prairie dog jihadi from a successful hunt (not often in the USA you see a pickup bed crammed with bundled-up men holding AR's and other rifles pointed at the sky), the hours and nights of conversation, great food, baileys-laced coffee, and sheer number of fun and interesting people that I felt over-stimulated, over-peopled, for days on end.

I'm still exhausted by it all, but that's more from not scheduling a day off between flying and walking into the madhouse of work in the middle of my week. Maybe tomorrow I'll tackle the dishes, or folding the full pile of finally-finished laundry. For now, I'll finish a cup of tea and talking about the perfect weekend already gone so swiftly into the past I can't recapture any moment exactly as it happened. Then, to bed.

Enjoy your life. Capture snapshots along the way, but above all, enjoy the perfection of each imperfect, glorious, nitpicking, awesome, everyday little moment.


  1. That is some wonderful advice, right there. Too many people view trips, vacations, etc through a viewfinder rather than through the experience.

    Don't get me started about those who spend their days looking down at a cell phone, texting as they walk into walls, posts, and other people.

    I'm glad you had such a great time. :)

  2. Amen.

    Life should be remembered, not memorialized.

  3. That sounds like the most AWESOME trip! Thank you for the (vicarious) memories. :)

  4. It was really, really nice meeting you and Peter. My only regret is that I didn't have several additional weeks to spend talking with everyone...

    Also thanks for letting me try that PMR-30. It's far too dangerous for me to possess here (heavy sarcasm), but it's on the list once I move to America...