Capturing Special Moments in Time

My stomach churned with excitement as we circled the rocky island of KarmØy on the western coast of Norway. My anxiety crested as the 12-passenger plane gracefully touched down and coasted to a stop.

My husband and I and three local passengers climbed out, and the pilot asked if someone was meeting us.

“Yes,” I answered tentatively, but there was no one in sight. Did they remember? Do they speak English? Do they want to meet us, or are they just being polite?

But when we opened the door of the small Haugesund terminal, the room was filled with smiling faces, all of them waiting for us. They were holding a sign that said WELCOME SHEPPARDS.

I had never met my father’s first cousins, and I had no idea of what to expect, but in the days that followed, our time was filled with emotional moments and sensory delights that I knew I wanted never to forget.

We sat down to “evening coffee,” and my eyes stung with tears as they sang grace, first in English, for our benefit, then in Norwegian. We settled down to lefse and flØte kaka and waffla and lapp, and other nameless confections heaped high with whipped cream, and the conversation was warm and welcoming.

The days of our short stay flew quickly by, but there were times when I inhaled deeply the scent of rich coffee and I savored the sounds of a living room filled with Norwegian folk songs sung for our benefit and accompanied on guitars and accordions played by ear, and I said to myself, “How I would love to freeze this moment in time so that when I get home, I could pull it out and savor it all over again.”

So each evening when everyone else had retired for the night, I did what I love to do best: I wrote. The stimulation of the day combined with rich Norwegian coffee kept me alert long after everyone else was asleep.

My point is this: If you want to freeze special moments in time, take pictures—yes–but JOURNAL. You don’t have to be a good writer, just an observant one. A photo is terrific, but words can preserve the smells, the tastes, the sounds, the words, and the emotions in a way a photo never could.

Capture, freeze, then pull those moments out from time to time and relive them all over again. You only live once. Or twice . . .

©Sharon Sheppard, 2014