Thursday, August 03, 2006

A perfect moment

I'm always on the lookout for the perfect moment.

I think I might have heard that phrase in a Spalding Gray piece years ago..."perfect moment." It's a moment where everything is, well, perfect. Time kind of stops, there are no worries, everything at that time and place just feels right, the way it's supposed to be. It can be a moment of natural beauty (it usually is for me), or a moment of achievement, or with loved ones. It all depends.

The thing is, you got to be on the lookout for them or you can miss it. I mean, sometimes it's easy to have a perfect moment; when you're on vacation in the Florida Keys, for instance, and you're having a great time with your family, and you're standing on the beach and the sun is going down and you're drinking a rum & tonic surrounded by people you love, and who love you, and the sky is amazing colors and you're smoking a delicious cigar... well, you see, that's easy. It's easy to have a perfect moment there. What I'm talking about is more the surprise perfect moment, the one that sneaks up on you and makes you go "ah." It's those that keep you going if you ask me.

This morning I drove up to Wisconsin to go shooting at an outdoor range with other police officers. It was pouring rain pretty good when I left the compound and headed north. A day outdoors, shooting, just beats the hell out of a day at the police department, so I was already off to a good start.

I got to the range, and helped the rangemaster hang targets while everyone stood around and bullshitted and smoked. I try and make myself useful while I'm up there. The range has targets at 25, 50, and 100 yards. Each group of target frames is backed by a big earthen berm, and the whole range is surrounded by trees. It's a really nice place.

As we walked out to the 50 yard line and started to hang targets a light rain was falling. The air smelled like grass and dirt and rain, and after several days of 95+ heat, it felt like a cool washcloth on your forehead. There are all kinds of weeds and wildflowers growing behind the targets, against the 20' high earthen backdrop, and as we walked up to hang targets we startled a goup of about a half dozen goldfinches that had been in the weeds behind the target frames. There I was, holding a staplegun, just gawking as all these beautiful birds took flight and headed up into the trees. And then I noticed two little chipmunks in the weeds, they ran up the embankment and disappeared over the top. The rangemaster was intent on getting the day started, and I don't think he saw any of it. I kept my observations to myself, but I felt blessed.

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