Perfect moments are comprised of two things: an aesthetic experience and mental music. The aesthetic experience I’m referring to is the indescribable feeling of awe that an artwork, a scenery, or a person can make you feel, with sometimes even to the point of tears. The mental music is there to enhance and accompany those heavy emotions, and create the perfect moment.
I think everyone’s life would be better if we all had, or looked to have, at least one perfect moment every day. After feeling a little down for a few days in my transition from a very busy student to having all the time in the world for the summer, I was able to make up for the last week by having a bunch of “perfect moments” over the past couple of days.
Abhi and I were able to take a trip down to Chicago for Friday and Saturday to go and support one of my closest college friends, Rubi, during her first solo art exhibition. The train station is in Galesburg, which is about a 25 minute drive from Monmouth. Over the past week, I had been challenging my fear of driving by pushing myself to obtain my license. So I drove us to Galesburg. It may not seem like much, but for someone with such a high anxiety for driving, like me, it was the greatest accomplishment, and the first of many perfect moments that day.
The second perfect moment was while on the train, reading Celine by Peter Heller, holding Abhi’s hand, and my brain playing “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy. I have had many different emotions while taking a train to Chicago in the past… sometimes happiness or excitement or heartbreak, tiredness, intrigue, or peace, but this was the first time I felt love.
The next perfect moment was seeing Rubi so happy and excited during her show reception, being able to see her newest paintings, and feeling immensely proud of how far she has come and being able to be a part of her journey. We were also able to visit the National Museum of Mexican Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, but out of all of the artworks that we saw in the galleries, there was one that really stuck with me, and that was “Birth, Death, and Regeneration” by Jose Gamaliel Gonzalez. I was also struck and almost brought to tears to have been able to see a painting by Rafael Coronel in real life.
But the most significant and fleeting perfect moments that impacted me were the glimpses at the city’s tall buildings being covered by fog, and viewing the landscapes from far. We walked so many miles with aching feet, but it was so worth it. Navy pier on a cloudy and foggy morning looks like the scenery from a dystopian world where the travelers are nearing some sort of happy place. And while looking at the scenery, almost in tears from heartbreak, happiness, and awe all at once, Debussy began playing in my mind once again. I felt alive; these aesthetic experiences make me feel alive. I couldn’t capture it with my camera, not with its infinite beauty. I am not trained in capturing landscapes, so I just focus on taking the moment in. Later, I just allow my photographic memory to take me back.