The Magic Moment
There are so many times when I am traveling, when I feel this kind of elation about where I am and what I am doing. I’ve started calling it the Magic Moment, and I try to make a mental note about it when it happens.
The most recent time was when I was in Rwanda on a mountain gorilla safari with my group. We had by all accounts what many would consider to be one of the best mountain gorilla encounters imaginable. We tracked mountain gorillas to the jungle for about an hour until we found them, with the strict notice that we weren’t allowed to approach them within 30 feet. However, if they approached us, that was OK.
We silently watched the mountain gorillas eating and playing, and we especially couldn’t get over the youngest ones who would have looked exactly like little Ewoks, if you put clothes on them. They were adorable. It was such a blast.
Then, the Magic Moment happened. I was watching a mountain gorilla pensively chewing on a bamboo stick, when suddenly it locked its eyes on me, with an intense but gentle gaze. Have you ever been in a party with friends, and some other partygoers do something silly or strange and your friends and you just kind of give each other a knowing glance? Well this felt exactly like what the mountain gorilla was doing as little younger gorillas played around us. In its purest form, I guess how I can describe this, it’s a “connection”, but I have never connected with an animal quite like this before, not even my dog, whom I’ve known for over 10 years, since she was a puppy. It was like we were having a moment, and I felt shivers run down my spine. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her, nor her off of mine.
And then I realized, I am having that Magic Moment. That moment that I rarely ever have back in Chicago, doing the normal day-to-day tasks. It is that moment that transcends time and space, when everything else is completely flushed out of my mind, and I am so incredibly present, in awe, and above all else, extremely grateful.
In time, the beautiful Mountain Gorilla went back to chewing on her bamboo stick, but she left me with the simple gift of this Magic Moment, which I know I will never forget.