Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Moments that Make Us

Just so you know, for the next week, in preparation for Thanksgiving and being barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen A LOT, I'm going to post a week's worth of old but awesome posts. Even though it isn't next week yet, we'll start with this one, written by my amazing blog partner and sister, Suzette Saxton. Enjoy!

There are things in life that we have no control over that leave their mark - death of a loved one comes to mind - and then there are those subtle things that make just as big an impression.

Take opera. My exposure to it consisted of Pretty Woman, when Edward Lewis (played by Richard Gere) said, "People's reactions to opera the first time they see it is very dramatic; they either love it or they hate it. If they love it, they will always love it. If they don't, they may learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul." I made a point of listening to a smattering of opera after that - nothing happened. I figured I was one of those who would never have it in my soul. Many years later I bought a collection of classical music, and tacked on at the end, almost as an afterthought, was a very short opera piece by Puccini. I was so stunned by its beauty I found myself crying. That one piece unlocked a window in my soul, and I have loved opera ever since.

Another involves Flaming June, a painting I think you all know I love, as I use it as my Google icon. (Sweet Cynde even sent me Flaming June emery boards!) On a recent trip to the museum I found myself face-to-face with an original 4x4 inch oil study that was part of the planning stage for Flaming June. To see the actual brushstrokes of Lord Fredrick Leighton ... I stood riveted to the spot as a long line of patrons accumulated behind me. When one of them finally cleared his throat, I gave up my place and moved to the back of the line to await another turn.

Other life-altering moments that come to mind include a recent camping trip I took with my children, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, and sunsets in general, which never fail to spur spiritual growth. This past weekend I swam in a million-year-old crater pool. Once I got used to the fact that I was floating atop 65 feet of water, the experience was profound.

I want to know about those subtle, life-shaping moments that make you who you are.



Unknown said...

Sleeping children. Winter beaches. Sunrise coffee. A rainy day at an amusement park... the rides all to ourselves.

Bliss. These subtle moments make us writers. These subtle moments increase my belief in heaven.

Great post Suzy. XO

Teri said...

Absolutely profound!

Sunrise, peaking over the mountains, with autumn ablaze in all her glory, at least that is what is touching me right now.

Anonymous said...

That is some of the best photography I've ever seen.


kah said...

There is inspiration everywhere. We just have to keep our eyes and hearts open or we miss it. Love all the beautiful photos. :)

Judith Mercado said...

The penetrating look coming from a baby's eyes when he or she awakens and sees you. Somehow that look seems to encompass all the mystery that is life.

Unknown said...

It always makes me happy one someone tells me they've fallen in love with opera. I guess I'm one of those who naturally took to it the first time I heard it, but then again, my first experience was watching a production of Bizet's Carmen and I'd already begun studying classical vocal training myself. Yep, I definitely love it as I sit here and ramble on about it. Sorry... *blush*

Something, rather someone, two, change my life subtly almost every day. My little boys sure keep teaching me a lot.

Angie said...

Beautiful post! Have I told you lately what a fabulous writer you are? Yeah, I thought so.

The first thing that came to mind for me was giving birth, but that's not really one of those subtle moments. So instead I thought about finding out I was pregnant. Every time it filled me with awe (along with many other emotions). A new person inside of me? Wow. The Lord of the Flies blew me away. That is one powerful book. Listening to Handel's Hallelujah Chorus always moves me deeply, but singing the Hallelujah Chorus as part of the choir--well, the only word I can think of is exalting. It's almost an out of body experience, it's so intense. Thanks for the thought provoking question.

Nevine Sultan said...

Stormy weather. The sound of silence. Shooting stars. Genuine laughter.

Deep question...


Diana Paz said...

Thanks for the soul-soothing post. Some of mine were the first night of my firstborn's life, a lot of places in Hawaii, and visiting Costa Rica for the first time since I was five years old.

Fireblossom said...

Do you accept walk-ins? *smile*

I was visiting Dulce's "Sweet Poetry" blog this morning, when I noticed your "Flaming June" avatar and I had to come see. FJ is extremely close to my heart for reasons I won't rattle on about, but I love it dearly, as you clearly do, as well!

This post is just full of delights for me. When i was small, the lady next door played opera in her kitchen all day long, and I thought it was just pretty odd and didn't think much about it. Then, some time in the 90s, I heard two pieces that transported me. One was the Flower Duet by Delibes, which i thought was just so very beautiful and sweet, and Vesti La Giubba from Pagliacci. Though I could not understand the words, the singer was clearly in agony over something, and actually wept. I wept too, and have loved opera ever since.

The painting of the aspens is lovely. I deliver mail to a place called Aspen Woods. There isn't an aspen tree in sight, naturally. Just oaks and some sort of fruit tree. Whenever I hear aspens mentioned, i always recall John Denver's song "Starwood In Aspen."

Well, anyway. Your blog is beautiful.

Yamile said...

That first look from each of my four babies. Pumpkin pie smell. Looking at the ocean swaying, crickets in the night. Swimming in the warm ocean in Culebra Island. What a paradise!

Tess said...

tuck in songs

sleepy morning hugs

family dinners

can't stop, tears rolling down your face, jaw hurting laughter

Kathy McIntosh said...

Wonderful post, love the aspen photo.
Nature, particularly the red rock country in Arizona and southern Utah, gives me serenity, inspiration and ahah moments. Great guitar music, too, can slow my whirring brain.

Clementine said...

Great post! I love that first photo. Are they Aspens?

Bethany Wiggins said...

I'm with Fireblossom on the opera... Flower Duet from Lakme. The first time I heard it, I stopped what I was doing, closed my eyes and just listened.

Others include certain songs from Radiohead (Fog. Again. Live. comes to mind) and Coldplay.

Body-boarding is one for sure... being out semi-deep in the ocean, watching the rollers come in and waiting for the perfect one to break right as it reaches you.

Sitting at the bottom of a swimming pool and looking up at the surface of the water when it is raining.

Walking in a downpour until you are soaked to the skin (especially when you live in the desert).

Tasting lightning on your tongue half a second before it explodes overhead. (A little scary, actually.)

Elana Johnson said...

I love that aspen painting. Of course, I love all things fall. :)

A New Beginning said...

Beautiful post :) Your blog has a very peaceful feel to it!! Keep UP..Loved the paintings!

Jose Ramon Santana Vazquez said...


desde mis


CON saludos de la luna al
reflejarse en el mar de la
poesia ...



Bri said...

Thanks for the comment :) I love your site.

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

you swam in a crater! cool

Jeannette said...

A subtle, shaping moment for me is when I bake something, and when I take it out of the oven, it comes out right.

A less subtle moment but one I love is, I live in the same block as an elementary school, and their playground adjoins our communal garden. When I am working at my desk from about 9-10 am it is so quiet you could hear a pin drop. But at 10 am a roar, like a wave, comes exploding from the school doors, as a hundred kids burst onto the playground for recess. It's a sound and energy tsunami that always makes me smile....

Thanks for the lovely post.

And where is that crater pool? I would love to swim in it!

Danyelle L. said...

Awesome post!

I love opera too! Music is an amazing thing. :)

Subtle moments that make me who I am? Getting a peanut butter-scented hug from a tiny tot. The love in my husband's eye. A beautiful phrase. A wonderful word that trips off my tongue. A smile from a stranger. A moment where a spark of light resonates through the darkness.

Natalie Murphy said...

Beautiful post!

Celtic music, softly falling snow in the evening with a purple sky and green hills: All are bound to make me emotional in some form or another. I'm not sure why. Live music also gets me (classical), and Monet's paintings.

I love fuzzy blankets and fireplaces; libraries/bookstores, and music boxes with waltzing couples. I love the smell of pine trees in the rocky mountains (Alberta) and the glowing blue of glaciers. I love standing on frozen lakes, even though I'm terrified, and racing horses in the country. I love the glow of candles and cuddling with my 14 yeaar old puppy dog.

That's all I can think of right now.

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B.J. Anderson said...

Wow, where do I begin?! Nature is my #1. But I'm also inspired by art, music, and especially dance. I'm inspired by words and colors and textures. Sounds or silence. This is an awesome post. Wonderful topic!

cleemckenzie said...

Not all opera gets to me, but Faust, Madam Butterfly, and La Boheme really do.

* sylvia * * 333 * said...

You have amazing blog.

Greetings from Poland :)


Suzette Saxton said...

Thank you all for your comments - I've read over them several times and when I do I feel something shift inside of me - a shift of perspective, almost. It's a neat thing.

The crater pool is in Midway Utah at the Homestead Resort. Fun place to visit.

Dana Elmendorf said...

Though I do not share in your passion for opera, maybe someday, I agree. It's those moments in time, a smell, a look that imprint themselves on us and mold us into who we are.

Regina Quentin said...

I love Puccini's operas. Was it Turandot you listened to or perhaps Madama Butterfly? Sorry if I missed it in your post. I tend to do that sometimes.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the shout out, Suzy! Great post!

Jacqui said...

Love your very colorful blog! I introduced my seven and 10-year-old daughters to the music of the Phantom of the Opera last weekend. I pulled out the CD's and told the story during pauses in the opera (which I sang at the top of my lungs, arms fully extended). They were totally entranced. At one point I became teary eyed when explaining how evil the Phantom was, but that you couldn't help but feel sorry for his pain. His voice in the opera is mesmerizing, sorrowful, angry--such a range of emotions! My daughters were caught up in it, eyes wide, mouths gaping. It was truly awesome to see their reaction. Music definitely shapes my life, and I think it opened a new love for them.

PS We have a crater pool close to us (at Homestead in Midway, UT). Maybe I should get up my nerve and swim it. I need a profound experience! :)