Where the muddy river water, churned up from the previous night’s storm, met the deep blue of the lake, I was reminded of something.
“Look at that”, I said. “We can imagine we’re in the Caribbean.”
“Or”, she said, “we can just enjoy being here.”
“Isn’t it funny”, she continued, “how we often talk about imagining we’re elsewhere instead of enjoying where we are?”
She was so right!
I was describing our view in a way that made the Caribbean seem the better choice and “poor us” for not being there instead.
Have you ever done that?
Recently, I sat at a patio table of a Greek restaurant enjoying the warmth of the sun consciously imagining I was back in Greece enjoying freshly baked spanakopita while watching other tourists wander in and out of the shops laden with white cotton shirts smocked with traditional blue-threaded designs and wooden bowls made from local olive wood.
I chose this restaurant because of that memory.
I did’t go there to be thankful that I can eat Greek food in my home town or to be thankful that it’s summer and I live in a beautiful country with a multitude of merits all its own. I went there because I had such a wonderful experience in Greece and I wanted to relive it.
But I suppose that’s what life is all about.
While I was completely enjoying my day out on the water with a good friend and thankful we found a river within a short drive to enjoy a beautiful summer day, I was reminded of another time and another place.
Life is a balance of creating memories by enjoying where you are and then recalling them at a later date without diminishing the present experience – and being equally thankful for both.
What I should have said was, “It reminds me of the Caribbean. Aren’t we lucky to live in a place that offers us this beautiful view and it’s only a short drive away. We can come here as often as we like.”
This would have allowed me to rest in the warmth of my memory while fully grateful for the present moment.
It would have allowed both my present and past experiences to hold equal weight as I filed away the memories I had just created:
The heron taking flight as we approached a bit too close for its comfort.
The row of baby swallows perched on a branch overhanging the river ready for their next in-flight feeding lesson.
The fish that jumped so near our boats we were almost splashed.
And of course, enjoying the company of a dear friend doing something that brings us both joy.
These are added to my memory bank from which I can make regular withdrawals to enhance rather than compete with a future moment.
Wonderful memories are the stories we comfort ourselves with as we move forward in life.
They are how we measure our progress, our relationships, and hold on to those who have changed us.
“The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end, that’s all we have.”
from Downton Abbey
I hope you are creating many bankable memories this summer that will keep you warm throughout your years.
Summer is a great time for stories!
On my book shelf this summer:
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
I found this novel to be filled with beautiful turns of phrase and insights. Plus, it reminded me of my time touring the Loire Valley in France last autumn (which is why I bought the book in the first place). If you haven’t been to that area of the world, I highly recommend it. And I recommend this book too.
Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed
Quotes from the woman who brought us Wild. It’s filled with insightful advice from a contemplative soul. Here’s just one:
“We don’t reach the mountaintop from the mountaintop.
We start at the bottom and climb up.
Blood is involved.”
What’s on your bookshelf this summer? Comment below. I’d love to hear.
The stories of your good work.
Your business has many stories that your customers and prospects would love to hear. I’d love to help you get them out into the world. Contact me here.