It’s a warm Friday afternoon and I’m out of work a little early. I breathe easier as I leave 95 and veer off to the left down route 4, heading for home. I cruise slowly through the neighborhood with the windows down so everyone can appreciate what is blasting from my modest car stereo. Gabe arrived home last night for a short break and this is what draws me back home today.
He’s parked on the couch in front of the TV when I come in the door, but it takes no convincing at all to get him into the garage looking for the Frisbees. I can’t get into my sweats fast enough so my suit and tie and my white pinpoint oxford shirt just lay deflated on the chair near the closet as I race downstairs. We get the music playing full volume on the outdoor speakers. Let someone complain, I’ll just put my arm around my son and say, “Gabe’s home.”
Gabe takes the far end of the field; he’s going to do most of the running and he knows I relish the challenge of sailing the Frisbee completely off the far edge of the field—if the wind is just right and my arm holds out.
We start out with a few easy throws (the old man has to warm up), and soon we have pinpoint accuracy, taking great pride in ensuring the other doesn’t even have to take a step to catch the flying disc, often hitting the other right in the hands. We both wait for the other to begin to crank it up, for the disc to launch like a comet. When slightly off target, only the explosive and lightning quick can catch up to it.
Back and forth the disc flies and both of us sprint, leap and crash—into the trees, onto the ground—until we’re out of breath, soaked in sweat, bruised and a little battered. Time is frozen as the moment stretches across the warm afternoon. No one wants to stop because neither of us ever knows when this will happen again, and our ordinary life just doesn’t measure up to this kind of experience very often.
The old man is amazed that the young guy can throw that thing with such power and accuracy. The young guy shakes his head and smiles at what the old guy can make that disc do. They’re both gasping for air when they hug each other in the middle of the field and walk back to the house with their Frisbees and their stories.
It’s time to make the marinade for the fish and set up the fire pits. People are coming over tonight. Dusk will fill in behind the early evening sunset, the string lights will glow above the deck, torches will flare their warm light, the oak fires will crack and burn, and the music will echo off the clapboard walls and carry out into the night. Gabe will visit with our friends, hopefully hang around longer than expected, and then we will lose track of time as we get lost in the warmth of this moment with our friends.
I head to the shower with a glass of wine, loose and warm from the afternoon Frisbee with Gabe and heartened by the anticipation of the evening.
Strive to be as present as possible and let the moment capture you fully. It’s only here once.