I read somewhere or other that our lives are a series of moments. Now, the physicist in me is quick to point out that this is a statement of the bleeding obvious. But my philosophical side would counter that, in any life, there are likely to be some moments that have greater salience than others. They just might not be the ones we’d expect.
A little earlier this afternoon, having been toiling away at my desk since first thing this morning and knowing that I was going to spend the better part of this evening sat on the train to London, I decided to take Molly out for a quick run across the fields near our house.
Inevitably, it was pouring with rain and everywhere was fairly muddy. But we’re tough and grippy, so we went anyway.
It wasn’t a particularly long run. Just a couple of miles or so out along a farm track across the moors and then back through the few fields that aren’t currently full of cows or sheep. Stopping off at Molly’s favourite pond for a quick swim (her) and a cool-down stretch (me).
As we turned around at the half-way point, the sky was grey, the rain was pouring down and it was starting to get dark. But no sooner had we started running back towards home, than everything changed.
As if by divine command, the rain stopped. Over the distant horizon, the clouds parted. And the day’s last few rays of sunshine wove their tender magic.
The landscape around us, which had until now loomed indistinct in the murky twilight, was suddenly filled with colour. The trees, the fields and the streams took on an almost-unearthly golden sheen. Far overhead, a flock of seagulls glistened like diamonds against the thundery sky.
And to cap it all, a complete, brilliant rainbow appeared in front of us. Like a cosmic finish line, beckoning us on.
I turned to check that Molly was still following me. She was standing stock still in the middle of the path, silhouetted by the disappearing sun. Her orange fur gave off an almost golden aura. She would have looked regal, had she not been covered up to her eyebrows in mud.
For the next quarter of an hour, we trotted happily through this glistening landscape. Exploring the new world in which we found ourselves.
The colours around us were more vibrant and alive than I have ever seen them. As if the full intensity of the photographer’s ‘golden hour’ was being crammed into a few short minutes. Everything around us seemed so much clearer than it had been before.
Obviously, if this were a metaphor for life, I’d have had some kind of profound insight into the nature of space and time, the meaning of life or how to un-elect Liam Fox. But it isn’t, so I didn’t. (Though I’m still working on all three.)
But it was a most unusual and profound experience.
If our lives are, indeed, a series of moments, then this was most definitely one of mine.