At the ripe age of twenty, I’m just beginning to realize how easy it is to live life carelessly. My grandma is always telling me to “treasure every moment” because the years will end up passing me by in “the blink of an eye.” I’m sure we’ve all heard similar advice from those who have lived through the decade of life many of us are only now approaching.
It’s funny how a simple turn of phrase can impact how my brain decides to apply my grandma’s guidance. I’ve started to take note of all the times I consciously decide to blink. I don’t want those moments, those seconds, those ticks on the clock to disappear into nothingness with the closing of my eyes. Instead, I want to blink with intention. I want to close my eyes in remembrance, rather than inattentive instinct. So, I have a question: What do the backs of your eyelids tell you as you fall asleep at night? What do you see when you first close your eyes?
My eyelids emit miniature vignettes through the enclosed space of my mind. I see beautiful portraits projected across thin skinned canvases. I’ve started to memorize moments—little snapshots of my day—to preserve the strikingly beautiful bits that usually float into insignificance. Sometimes, when I go to sleep, I can see the landscape of a South African safari playing like a nature documentary through my head.I can see a leopard’s powerfully elegant stance through the long grass. I can picture the orange light bouncing across an elephant’s wrinkled skin.
I had the pleasure of attending Doctor Ivy George’s International Seminar to South Africa last summer and there is absolutely nothing I can write to properly convey the brilliance of the night sky outside of Rustenburg. The stars burst forth with a breathtaking kind of brilliance there. I don’t have any image taken with a camera, but I can still see those incandescent explosions of light when I close my eyes because I memorized that night sky.
Some of my replayed moments are discovered with much less than an eighteen-hour flight across the Atlantic. I observe my surroundings with wide open eyes and I take diligent notes in my mind. I mark the particular way light can project the rippling water of Beck Pond across the ceiling of a beloved family home. I can picture precisely the way my mom’s eyes crinkle before her face breaks into laughter. I know exactly how my friend’s tears look as they fall from her eyes.
Not all of my memorized moments are happy, but I treasure them nonetheless because I believe remembering them faithfully will somehow pull me through the difficult trials to come. Marking the beauty of certain moments and replaying them may not just be a way to prevent life from escaping in the blink of an eye; it may also be a method of clinging to hope and holding steadfast through the storms of life by basking in the refuge of a series of memorized moments.
So, I’ll ask one more time; What do you see when you fall asleep at night? What scenes do you project behind closed eyes? What moments do you have memorized?