At the end of the driveway I froze with my foot on the brake pedal.
"Woah, look!" someone said.
Two enormous hot air balloons were drifting slowly over our neighborhood. I mean, they were probably normal size, but they looked enormous because they were so low. Their colors were bright and the morning sun shone behind them. I became aware of the music that was playing on the radio (Capriccio: Moonlight Music by Richard Strauss). I started driving down the street toward the balloons, then stopped at the intersection so we could watch their peaceful movement. We watched the flame ignite under one balloon, then the other, heating the air to prevent their baskets from scraping the tiles on a nearby roof, so it seemed. Gradually, they grew farther away, and I remembered that the kids would soon be late for school. I started driving, the song ended, and the moment was past.
It was bedtime. All the boys were upstairs brushing teeth, shoving at each other, laughing, taunting. Except for Brandt, who was sitting quietly on the dark stairs next to the built-in night light. I sat down next to him and kissed his round cheek. He smiled, then looked at the tiny moth that was walking on the glass of the light. The moth stopped.
"Look." He said. "It's a bug."
"A moth." I said. I watched Brandt as he watched it, his face golden in the light, then I pursed my lips and blew gently at the moth. My breath ruffled its wings, and it walked along the glass to the edge of the frame until it was partially hidden under it.
Brandt frowned. "I wanted to touch it," he said.
Its back half was still visible. "Touch it." I said.
Brandt raised his finger and softly touched its wings. He drew his hand back and smiled and the moth squeezed between the glass and the frame to slip inside to the light. I grabbed Brandt, hugged and kissed him, and took him up the stairs.
I was driving along the back of the grocery store parking lot with my trunk full of fruit and vegetables (and maybe a handful of bulk-bin chocolate-covered raisins) when suddenly a gust of wind picked up the leaves that were strewn along the ground and lifted them into the air, tossing them across my path. The sun shone on their lighter under-sides and I felt like I was driving through golden-brown glitter. Just then a man in a sports car rounded the bend and drove past me. I looked at his face as he passed. I was sure he hadn't noticed.
I'm trying to pause when they happen, these moments of beauty in my life. They're often very simple, or happen at inconvenient times. But they are there. I hope you see them in your life too. Life is beautiful.