5 Minutes

• ~400 words • 2 minute read

As part of an ongoing effort to go yoga classes this winter like it's my job I've found myself jotting down little thoughts and intentions to bring to my days. Little mantras. I find they dull the sharp edges of things that might otherwise be stressful and help me live in the moment more fully instead of too far ahead or behind it — where I normally find my thoughts when I start to feel unbalanced.

The other day I remembered the promise I'd made to myself the night before to "find one beautiful moment." It was getting late in the day by this point. I looked outside and saw the pink clouds above the skyline. I thought: Well that's a pretty moment. I should go for a walk. Besides, I have groceries and errands and things I could go do.

As soon as I stepped out the door, past the wreathes and Christmas decorations that already seem to have lost a little bit of their magic in the new year, it dawned on me just how lovely the view was and how much prettier it would probably look from the deck on the roof of my building, where I seldom venture. I hesitated for moment. But, I'd just be standing there. I wouldn't be doing anything. I'd be wasting time and there's stuff I need to do.

So I compromised: five minutes. Just go up there, soak in this moment for five minutes, and then you can be on your way. I went back inside and headed up to the roof, up the tiny staircase made comically narrow so as to adhere to fire safety regulations in the nearby hallway but not quite large enough for a mid-sized person to walk up directly without slumping his or her shoulders in.

When I arrived I stood there, breathed and appreciated it. The stillness. The colors. The glow and warmth on a cold January day. The shimmering golds and salmon-pink hues highlighting the edges of the scattered clouds. Not being able to help myself — and somewhat breaking the deal I'd made with myself to simply stand there — I took two photos, no much more than 5 minutes apart.

5 Minutes Before 5 Minutes Later

Five minutes — that’s all it took — and the pink edges on the clouds were gone. The sunset was still glorious as ever but that brief, special moment had passed.