A day I will never forget

When I was a young girl growing up in northern Maine, summers were precious. I loved the freedom of long unstructured days, and there was nothing I enjoyed more than riding my bicycle on country roads.

My grandparents lived one mile (all uphill) from us, and I made that trip nearly every day with the reward of coasting home with a date filled cookie or a homemade potato donut digesting in my belly.

There is one particular summer day I will never forget.

Photo credit: pixabay

I was trembling with excitement. My sister was taking her family and me to the circus! I was the youngest of four, and my older sister had children close to my age, so we did a lot of things together while Mum and Dad slaved on the farm, unable to get away much in the summer.

The morning of this most fantastic day, I decided to take a bike ride. I pedaled to Grammie and Grampie’s and in a flash of spontaneity zipped down the long steep hill past their house.

When I got to the bottom of the hill, I knew it was time to turn around and begin the arduous process of pedaling back up the mountain for indeed it was a hill going down and a mountain going up.

But something made me stop. And it wasn’t asthmatic wheezing because my lungs were robust and capable of the most vigorous physical activity back then.

I closed my eyes and felt the sun soak into my flesh. I listened to the sounds of summer: a songbird, the rustle of the warm breeze in the poplars, cicadas buzzing. I smelled the fragrance of sweet grass, freshly mowed hay, and the Blackstone’s manure pile.

I thought about what a wonderful life I had at that very moment.

I knew even at my young age that life was fleeting. I thought about my parents and how I had so many years with them stretched before me. I thought about my grandparents and how much I loved them. I thought about my older sisters and my brother, my nieces, and nephews and how important they were to me.

I stared at the dry, brown earth and thanked God I was standing on it and told myself, “I will never forget this perfect instant in time when I counted my blessings and the people I love are here with me, surrounding me with light and love. This will not always be the case, but at this point, I have everything a child could ever want.”

The funny thing is I barely remember the circus, which was the event that prompted my delight. I suppose there were the usual trapeze artists, unicyclists, and elephants. I imagine I ate popcorn and cotton candy and had a bellyache from the junk food and the laughter.

But the detail about that day that I’ll never forget is when time stood still for one moment of perfection.

This is how I imagine heaven will be. Reunited with those I love, time suspended on a perfect summer day, looking forward to the circus.

Have you memories of a perfect day or moment in time you can share with me? I’d love to hear all about it.

©2017, Stevens. All rights reserved.

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83 thoughts on “A day I will never forget

  1. What a beautiful, heartfelt memory. I felt privileged to be given that little glimpse into your life. Thank you for sharing this special memory with us at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty.

    • It means a lot to me to share this with people, Teresa. I’ve held onto the memory for so long, it is as vivid to me now as it was the day I imprinted it into my mind and heart. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  2. What a beautiful memory Molly. It was nice to experience it with you. Thank you so much for sharing with us at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I have shared on social media.

  3. Such a great post and such a thankful little girl you were! Sounds like you had a wonderful childhood. I have memories such as yous, I need to write them up and share them. Thank you Molly for linking up at the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I shared your post on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter.

    • Thank you Grammy Dee. I did have a wonderful childhood, and I have fostered an attitude of gratitude my whole life. I hope you do write up your memories and share them. It feels great to do so and share with readers.

  4. Such a beautiful post, Molly. I felt I was there with you experiencing that summer day. Thank you so much for sharing with us at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. Have a beautiful day. xx

  5. I loved reading this post! Isn’t it remarkable that you do still remember that precise moment in such detail? I have similar memories of special, precious moments from childhood. And, like you, I’m sometimes surprised at how perceptive and how “deep” my thoughts were at such a young age. I think that children do grasp the most important life truths at a very young age. Thank you for linking up at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I’m sharing your link on social media.
    Carol (“Mimi”) from Home with Mimi

    • I’m glad you have vivid, childhood memories of special times, Carol. This memory has been such a comfort to me through the years, though it saddens me now when I consider how many of my inner circle I have lost. When I relive that moment they are all with me, though. Thanks for commenting and I enjoy the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty

  6. Wow. That was beautiful. I felt like I was right there with you, and how wonderful that even as a small child you were able to realize the significance of that moment. Thank you for linking up at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty.

    • I love that I can share that moment with my readers, Christie, and also help make the memory more vivid for me, too. I have carried it with me so long and it is indeed precious to me. Thanks for leaving a comment from the #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty.

  7. How wonderful. I really was expecting a circus story! This is much better and I can really relate to it. Unfortunately, I don’t think I was switched on enough as a child to have the kind of experience you describe here, but I get them frequently now and I always feel as if I have won the lottery of life. This is a lovely evocative story Molly. And I love the picture you chose to go with it – perfect.

    • I still have moments now when I stop and drink in the beauty of the moment, but nothing can compare to the day I wrote about in this essay. I always appreciate your comments, Gilly. Thank you so much for stopping by.

  8. Not everyone has such vivid and detailed memories from childhood. You can at least look back and relish those wonderful years!

  9. I also have wonderful memories from my childhood, bike rides to the beach with my friends, sleepovers, and campfires. I wish technology wasn’t such a big part of my kids lives, but alas it’s here to stay. Everything changes, doesn’t it?

    • It is good to remember days without technology, Lisa, but I fear we can’t turn back. Maybe the current generation will eventually use it less to recapture the ‘olden days.’ We can only hope!

  10. I read this and thought, “Yes. Yes. Yes.” I, too, have memories from my childhood where I thought as you did at the bottom of your mountain. That sudden burst of awareness that THIS moment was worthy of memory. I remember the feeling of laying the memory down in stone, a purposeful attempt to hang on to what I KNEW to be true at that moment. For me, the stars passing outside the car window as mom and dad spoke softly in the front seat and I let my eyelids close after holiday parties at the grandparent’s house. Or when I was just old enough to walk from my house to a nearby playground all alone. The feeling of swinging back and forth, the freedom of it, and how lucky I felt to be just there, doing just that, still makes me smile.
    What a beautiful piece you wrote! I love it. Thank you.

    • And what a beautiful comment you have given me as a gift, Angela. You totally captured the essence of my special moment when you shared yours. Swinging…..ahhh. I spent hours doing that on my little metal swing set in the back yard. It was exhilarating and comforting at the same time. Thank you so much for your lovely comment.

  11. Crumbs, I saw the title and, being a writer of macabre bits and bobs, saw the image and though eek. Then you said Maine and circus. Maine, according to my favourite writer, is a terrible place for vampires and other strange happenings. Circus’s have clowns and IT was straight in there… but lo, you have settled upon a most idyllic memory and not an ounce of supernatural goings on at all! Bravo; I’ve also written a couple of memoirs about times past that have stayed with me too.

    Very enjoyable read 🙂

    • Thank you, Gary. I think I drew a lot of people in under false pretenses with this one. Didn’t mean to, but since it happened I’ll enjoy the surprises this post gives to my readers. I’m going to have to try my hand at writing something supernatural one day, in honor of my home town writer! Thanks for stopping by from BUYB. XO

      • My pleasure; I often ramble on comments as often things trigger random thoughts. Whenever I see Maine then things in my head get sinister suspicious. King has done a great job of making your home town appear a most dangerous place to be lol.

        Yes, give it a go; only way to see if the genre fits or not 🙂

        • I love King’s writing and that’s not just because he is a local. We used to see him out and about but we see him less and less now. I think he spends a lot of time out of state at this stage of his life. I can see how my photo has and eerie quality to it. It fit after you read the post, but it could give the impression I was going for something macabre. I’ll put it on my to-do list to give it a try when inspiration strikes me! You and SK can be my inspiration.

          • Me too; big fan here and he inspired me to write. On Writing allowed me to use my way of writing as opposed to more conventional methods. I found his explanations far more real to me. I imagine his age is restricting him a bit more now too as well. Yes, give it a try and I’ll be here to feedback of give tips 🙂

  12. Heart heart and more heart! Loved this. But then again, I absolutely adore summer, and summer memories of all kinds. Hammocks, fireflies, family reunions. Circuses, not so much, but I do appreciate the memory surrounding this one. Happy Rest of Summer, Molly!

  13. What struck me with this post was the age gap between you and your sister. It is the same with my Mum and her brother. A twenty year gap, makes for interesting perspective on family history. Lovely story,

    • Yes, my oldest sister is about 15 years older than me, then I had a sister 13 years older and my brother is 6 years older. It didn’t dawn on me until I was in middle age that perhaps I was an after thought. When I asked Mum if I was an accident she said quickly, “No! Well, not really. I mean, we got used to the idea once we knew we were having another baby.” I wouldn’t have known, I was loved so completely.

      • Women years ago had a good out look on life, they just got on with it. We often asked Mum how on earth did she not go mad with 5 children under 7 years, and one that was hyperactive [me], she replied that didn’t have time to think about just got on with looking after us. Plus my father was studying which he did in the garden shed because the house was too noisy LOL

    • That’s exactly right, Phil. This snapshot has stayed with me for decades and always evokes a sense of happiness and well being. Now it is also a bit sad for me having lost several of those loved ones I was grateful for that day.

  14. Sounds like an idyllic day! There are a few I look back on with fond memories from childhood through to my wonderful days in university !

  15. Wow, Molly, to share such an amazing memory with your readers…it was glorious! I was right there with you. As funny as your usual posts are, this was delightful to read and walk (ride?) down memory lane with you!

    • Thank you ever so much, Terri. I loved sharing it as I’ve held this memory close to my heart for so many years. I’m so happy with my fabulous readers’ responses and always love hearing from you. XO

  16. Such a lovely piece and you captured the mood of it so beautifully with your words that I felt I was right there with you. What a blessing to have such treasured memories.

    • Pause can give us a perspective that frantically doing one thing to get to the next thing cannot. Glad you took advantage of a moment of peace after reading this, and I need to do it more often too.

    • It really did, Jennifer. I have gone back to that memory so many times throughout my lifetime. It was as if I made a promise to myself that day that I would never forget how I felt and what I had at that moment in time. And I have kept that promise all these many years. I’m happy to be able to write about it now and share it with others.

  17. Incredibly well written and captivating. It brought back a special memory from my early childhood farm days in East Holden. It was a summer night with a cool breeze finally coming through the screen in my bedroom window. I knelt in front of the window and leaned on the sill to catch that refreshing breeze and listen to the Whip-poor-will that visited each summer in the nearby elm tree. My parents were in their room asleep and my brother and sister each in theirs and all was perfect in the world.
    Wise words indeed: “stay alert to moments of beauty within all of life’s experiences” — to be as alert as we were as children to the wonders we paused to “drink in” when our heads were not too “busy” to notice.
    Thank you Mollie. Have to go get a kleenex now.

    • I love the memory you have shared, Amy. I needed a few tissues when I wrote this piece and your image of a precious summer night brought tears to my eyes. I love the thought of ‘drinking in’ wonders. And it was good we realized things were perfect even though we were children, or maybe it is because we were children that we could appreciate it more fully. Thank you so much for your thoughtful and beautiful comment.

  18. I used to run ten miles every morning on a trail along the Minnesota River bottoms. I would run early, before work, starting at first light and getting into my pace before sunrise. At least in my humble opinion, there is nothing so beautiful as the rising sun splashing gold onto the waves of a slough.

    • That sounds like a beautiful experience, all except for running 10 miles. That part I would be a saunter for me, while I watched the lovely sun rise. I do understand how therapeutic it is to get into one’s pace, as I do that when I am walking. It becomes a meditation of sorts and wonderful to notice the beauty all around. I appreciate your comment.

    • I guess that’s right, Lorelle. I had not thought of it that way before. I know that moment in time has been a part of me my entire life, seared into my memory. It is the simple things that are extraordinary. I’m so glad I was ‘awake’ to notice this one.

  19. Molly- I love the graphic you put along with this. What a great visual to your memory! I remember a moment like this as a child…I was riding in the back of a station wagon, watching the lightening as we drove through the night. The seats were down so my brother and I were laying down and just looking up at the storm. I can’t even remember where we were coming from – just this sense if happiness and contentment. Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you, Sheri. I felt like the photo was perfect for the mood of the piece. I love your image of you and your brother riding in the back of a station wagon. Watching lightening from that vantage point would be quite spectacular. Thanks for sharing your story of peace and contentment. It’s the small things that make us happy in the end.

  20. You so sweetly captured that moment in time, Molly. Your post reminded me of that saying that it’s not about how many breaths we take, but it’s about the moments that take our breath away. We just need to slow down and be aware of (and grateful for) them. Brava.

    • You are so right, Roxanne. This was a moment in my life that took my breath away and it is hard to slow down enough to see them today even though they still keep rolling my way. Life is precious, indeed!

  21. Your writing started out excellent and is progressing to higher and higher levels! Blogs like this one are particularly special to me because I have video in my mind to go along with your words because I lived in the same air as you did when you were a kid at home. I love your writings about growing up and I’m very proud of you, my little sister Molly.

    • Thank you, brother. I do enjoy writing about my upbringing and it is something special we siblings understand as no one else can. How I love the memory of this special summer day, and there were many more just like it. I just didn’t sear them into my mind like this particular one. XO

  22. Loved it. Thought you were going one way with it and then..you veered off and you got me right in my sentimental heart.

  23. Shallow Reflections, you do serious as well as you do humor! Moving, poignant, evocative post. I remember a somewhat similar moment when I was at sleep-away camp in my early teens. It was the evening of a perfect weather day, the scenery was beautiful, I was running a half mile or so to or from some event, and it seemed wonderful to be alive. Ironically, most of the time I wasn’t a fan of that sleep-away camp.

    • Thank you, Dave. Occasionally, I stretch my ‘serious’ writing muscles and I’m glad they were able to so some moderately heaving lifting. I love the scene you describe – perfect weather, scenery, running and love of life. Ironic this fond memory came in the midst of a camp you didn’t particularly like. This tells me to stay alert to moments of beauty within all of life’s experiences.

  24. Such a beautiful memory. I can still remember sitting in the dark waiting for the sun to rise over the Masai Mara and feeling the stillness around me. As the sun rose I discovered I was not alone. Several other people sat quietly near me and there were monkeys a few feet away. I always remember those minutes before dawn.

    • What a wonderful exotic memory you have shared, Brigid. Even though I rarely watch the sun rise these days, I worked nights for a year early in my career, and it was very special to watch the sun rise. I can’t imagine have the light reveal people and monkeys around me I didn’t know were there. Awesome!

  25. Hi
    For me the day I might remember most in recent history would be the day of my mother’s surgery and when I could see her again after the arduous 8 hours in theater and I saw her smile. That day I was so thankful that I could cry and cry and not care about who saw.

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