The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Your Greatest Enjoyment

A few memories stand out for me:

Age 5 or so, on the beach, kneeling on a rocky granite outcropping. The tide is out, and the rock has many small basins still full of water. In one of them a few small fish, silver and a sort of reddish gold, swim in circles. I stare, fascinated.

A tiny room in the third story of an old house. The woman I’m in love with, a psychology major, is doing her her homework, sprawled on her bed. I’m tucked into an alcove, knees up against my chest, reading a book. We aren’t talking or touching, but I’m warm in a cold room, my eyes are soft, and both of us are perfectly aware of the other.

I’m eighteen, running on 4th Avenue. The sun is shining, people are out shopping. I zip past a mirrored wall and turn my head to watch myself run. My form is flawless: my knees come up parallel to the ground, I’m running about a five minute mile, almost effortlessly, muscles warm and relaxed. I’ve done about eight miles; two to go. Sweet.

Now, or in the past, what have you enjoyed most? Write in comments, or email me if you don’t want to share widely.



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  1. Feral Finster

    Catching that first mouse. I was starving, literally/

  2. Robert

    1956. I’m 4 or 5, sitting in the sun on the curb next to the carport. I have a can of orange(?) soda which, for the first time I don’t have to share with anybody. It’s all mine.

  3. Purple Library Guy

    Around age 8 or 9. Curled up in my bed in a log cabin (built by my great grandfather) by a lake in Northern Saskatchewan. I have a book to read and a stack of marshmallows which I earned by swatting masses of flies that were buzzing around the place when we arrived. Promised 1 marshmallow per 4 flies swatted, I systematically assassinated the little buggers until they were pretty much all gone and I had a pile of precious loot.

  4. sbt1942

    The first time I ever finished a long-distance, solo bicycle ride, in 2008. Baltimore to Ocean City, MD. I’ll never forget kicking my shoes off and sinking my toes in the sand that first time.

  5. mago

    Many youthful epiphanies and magical experiences occurred during my rough and tumble small Western town upbringing and beyond.
    After a two week hell tour of bone breaking dengue fever in Costa Rica, I passed into a state of heightened perception with a sense of child like awe.
    I could see the play of light and shadow scintillating on each and every leaf in the forest canopy, could hear each insect and bird and the surf pounding the beach.
    I practically burbled while recognizing that it was a short living experience soon to disappear.
    It lasted a day or two before I dropped back into the mundane.
    But while it lasted it was better than dropping the purest psylocibin, mescaline, or Sandoz LSD 25.
    Pure naked primordial awareness arising from temporal purification.

  6. David

    It is 12:40 PM on August 1, 2007. I started working at the university only two days before and I am in Roberts Cafeteria waiting on line to get lunch. The woman in front of me is peeling an apple and I said to her “I did not know you can get fruit here”. This has to be one of the lamest pick-up lines ever, and I felt immediately embarrassed. The woman turned around, and to my amazement, she smiled, put her hand out and said “Hi, I am Sarah, would you like to join me for lunch ?” We shook hands and we had a lunch that lasted two hours.

    Sarah and I became quite close and although we now live on different continents, we still remain very much in touch.

  7. Tallifer

    The many stunning performances of the musicals which my kindergarten classes staged under my teaching over twenty years in Korea. “King Arthur” was my favourite, although the children loved “Harry Potter” best.

    Finally taking up the mantle of dungeon master for my friends in Korea. A good time was had by all in the cooperative crafting of an heroic tale. (Fond memories also of all my formative dungeon masters at Carleton University Strategy Club including a dear friend with whom I remain in virtual contact with even this day.)

    Gathering with the whole clan at my grandmother’s house for Christmas. Sometimes up to thirty relatives.

    Countless ecstatic experiences in the pastoral nature of rural Canada.

    Playing the piano in the fading daylight in an old farmhouse.

  8. Bullweather

    15 on a beach vacation. My friend and I snuck out at midnight to meet a couple of girls our age that we met earlier in the day. The beach is removed from a major city, and the street lights are low. We meet up with the girls at their house and lay down some towels on the sand. We don’t know each other, but we spend the next three hours talking, listening to the ocean, and counting shooting stars. It’s the first time I see the Milky Way.

    It’s my senior year of college and I’ve spent the last two days intentionally sleepless, imbibing on whatever substance is available. In three days I graduate. I have the morning shift at work, but there’s still time to kill and everybody is asleep. I decide to take the long road into the store, retracing one of the first paths that I walked my freshman year. A tree has fallen on the road. I turn around and look for somebody to comment to, but there’s nobody around except a fox. It stops for a moment and scurries back into the woods.

    As cliché as it might sound, the birth of my children moved me to tears. There is no greater joy that I have found than watching a woman give birth to a healthy baby.

  9. Eric F

    Thanks Ian, this is an excellent question.
    There are too many possibilities, and I can’t choose, so I’ll pick a couple at random.

    Bodysurfing. A warm late morning at Seal Beach with my friend David (when I was 18). The surf is slightly larger than normal so the rides are better, but still break on shore at that one spot near the pier. Catch the wave as it begins to suck the water from up the sand slope, stretching along the 3 foot face of water until it crashes on the sand, then flip so I slide on my butt up the beach. Turn and shallow dive into 6 or 8 inches of water rushing back down to the next wave.
    Then maybe move to one of the other spots that don’t break on shore. A couple hours of this and I’m really hungry and we go up main street and get Mexican food.

    Dancing Tango. At the monthly dance where all of our local friends come out, along with people who have driven from as much as 4 hours away. We rotate partners, dancing with (nearly) everyone in the room – 10 minutes at a time for most of the 4 hour event. Starting with my wife. Moving together as one body – except I still feel her body pressed to mine – but we move together. Familiar and easy and we don’t need to do anything fancy to feel the music.
    Then dancing with our friends and some people we may not have met before. Dancing with some people is difficult or a little odd, and with others there is an immediate comfortable connection where I can feel not just their body, but affection in the embrace. But all those different experiences with various partners blend over the course of the night to something that feels like love for everyone in the room. And when the music stops we don’t want to leave.

  10. Joan

    Camping at a redwood forest near Gualala, California. The fifth Harry Potter book had just come out and I wanted to stay curled up inside and read it. My uncle insisted I really had to come see this. We hiked in the dark down to the river. Once the trees opened up to allow a view of the sky I saw the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. It was so vivid and colorful it looked like a photo taken from Hubble Telescope.

  11. Jan Wiklund

    Love apart, the Elms Battle in 1971:

    Perhaps even more, walking home 20 km after (because the Metro hadn’t begun for the day) to sleep, in gleaming spring weather with no people arount but lots of birds. It just happened that this was the first day of spring with the first leaves on the trees. It was magical for more than one reason.

  12. Juan Carlos Romero

    One I made recently: meeting a German woman on Tinder (I know) that was stationed in Caracas working for the UN. It all happened last year. I fell in love with her but it was unrequited (it hurt, but we live), and from that foundation I made the call to work on cultivating the friendship. — One evening, right after we’d decided to remain friends, we danced on her balcony. It was a lovely evening, her rooftop was mostly dark except for the full moon, and we danced to salsa for a very long time. Magical. I will always treasure it and I’m sure she will, too. We spent a good few months together and she fell in love with Caracas and its people. I’m glad I was able to be a worthy representative for my nation in the process.

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