If we’re lucky—very lucky—there are a very few occasions in our entire lifetimes when, without warning, we become acutely aware of our surroundings and a voice inside our head tells us to stop and savor this special moment.
The first of these moments in my life occurred on May 25th, 1946. It was the first time I had ever been to Fenway Park and I was only nine years old. But I remember it quite clearly to this day. It was when we walked up the ramp and I got my first view of the ballpark. That’s when something told me to slow down, take it all in, savor the moment. (Final score: Red Sox 7, Yankees 4.)
I had another of those moments on my first trip to Tahiti. It was close to midnight when we landed in Papeete, and we slept in the next morning. When I got out of bed and pulled the drapes aside, I had one of those moments. The Hotel Tahara’a stands on a cliff several hundred feet high overlooking Matavai Bay. And there, eight or ten miles in the distance was the Island of Moorea, jade green in the morning sun.
And then, eight years ago, I had that sensation again when I walked out onto Red Square in Moscow. It was at night and Lenin’s tomb, to my right and at least several hundred yards away, was brightly lit. And to my left, running almost the entire length of the square, was the huge GUM department store. I actually think I spoke those words aloud. “I’ve got to remember this moment.”