Last Glimpse

When It’s Gone, It’s Gone

When I arrive at a particular site to which I have journeyed over a long course of time, I expect it might be a one-and-done opportunity.  For example, my lengthy and extensive journey to Glacier National Park not only took years upon which to embark, but the flights there took me on a convoluted route (see Beautiful Beasts from February 2012).  The likelihood that I would ever make it back to northern Montana again felt so distantly impossible, that I soaked in every moment of daylight, of which a summer in Montana offers plenty.  Of course, when I returned in September of 2012 and a third time in Fall of 2014, I did not take any moment for granted.

I could say, “You just never know when you’ll get to see a place again,” but in the case of Veterans Stadium, I knew without a doubt I would never return (see The Vet from November 2011).  The entire purpose for my visit to this particular ball field on this particular date was to see nine of the last few innings in the soon-to-be demolished stadium.  Sure, I can return to the site (although I haven’t), but the stadium itself would never be seen again, by me or anyone.  In moments like this, I value the significance of a moment, knowing it cannot be repeated, recreated, revisited, but yet, remembered.  The phrase ‘You can never go back’ isn’t always true, but in this example, it’s a guarantee. 

Remember This Forever

I hold Son Number One’s hand as we enter the Sistine Chapel, this feels like the visit of a lifetime.  He’s only four, and I’ve impressed upon him the importance of using his inside voice in this room, but also the significance of looking at the tangled images of The Last Judgment.  It leaves an impression on me – one that I will always treasure.  Restored shortly prior to our arrival, the colors and images illuminate the empty room as much as the handful of windows on the sides of the space.  If I were to enter the room frequently, I would still need to stare in contemplation at the west wall.  Photographs are not permitted, so I remind myself to retain and recall whatever my brain can absorb.

Of course, it’s the ceiling most people observe.  Yes, it’s magnificent, but imagining the scaffolding that Michelangelo must have climbed each day for four years to begin the intricate work on each section of the curved ceiling must have gotten tedious.  It’s nearly impossible to imagine what the blank, bland slate looked like when he started the effort, but it takes a bit of memory muscle to retain the image and impression the 500-year-old creative work leaves on me as we shuffle through the room, knowing eventually we must exit out the south door and never see this masterpiece again.  I remind my son to look closely, remember this.  I won’t see this again in my lifetime.  My son, however…

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