It was early when I came downstairs. Just before I reached for the switch, something across the room caught my eye.
There was a single patch of light. At first, I thought it was a message alert on my phone, or the nearby tablet had mysteriously turned on.
It was neither. Just a triangle of light neatly aligned within the corner of the desk — the only light in the room.
Curious, I traced it from the desk to a window, then to the rising sun.
A beam of sunlight had found its way through a hole in the tree canopy outside, triangulated itself on the slant of the neighbor’s roof and the conjunction of two sides of the window and landed on the edge of that desk.
That image stayed with me long after the sun had climbed the trees and left that window behind. I had a feeling that there was something I was supposed to learn.
Then it hit me. What I had witnessed was a unique moment in time. It would never happen again in just that way.
By the next morning, even if it was again still and cloudless, the sun would have moved slightly south, and the leaves would be a little more contorted in their autumnal decline.
It reminded me that, like the snowflakes falling in winter, no two moments of our lives are exactly alike.
Each is unique in the transcendence it exposes, unique in the grace that it offers.
The flowers on the table are different than they were yesterday. Their colors still beautiful but fading, they’re yielding to the current of change that flows through all of life.
That luscious pie we’re sharing for dessert will never be the same as it is today. Not just because the apples will be different or the pinch of nutmeg might be less generous, but because the company of the meal, the mood of the fleeting moment, enhances the taste.
This person I’ve known for decades is not the same as she was years ago, not the same as she was yesterday. Whatever her day was like, it affected her, changed her, became part of her.
If I don’t try to see that difference today, and tomorrow, and the next, then I will have cheated this moment out of all it could have been and her out of all I promised.
Maybe that’s what a little patch of light was trying to teach me.