expecto patronum

Scotland, July 2nd, 2009
Less than an hour ago, I was stupefied by an otherwise harmless Facebook app.  I was about to "discover my patronus" when it demanded, "Think of a memory--the happiest you can remember."  I quit the application abruptly, rather flustered.  What was my happiest memory?  Surely, I must have one...  And yet nothing immediately came to mind.
I racked my brain.  The first to crop up weren't quite specific memories.  I thought of reading Harry Potter for the first time.  I thought of late nights sewing and the feeling of determination and bliss it evoked.  I remembered a non-descript afternoon feeling particularly content while folding laundry.  I remembered seeing the stars on the beach for the first time--I mean, really seeing them--when I arrived in Hawaii (also for the first time) late at night.  I thought of holidays spent with family, talking and eating.  And yet, not a concrete, hands-down, happiest memory.  Because fortunately, I have an incredibly happy life.  How could I pick one, overwhelmingly happy moment?
Then I thought of my last day in Paris, when we went to Montmartre.  Yes, this must be my happiest memory, I thought excitedly.  Although I didn't take any pictures (it was literally the only place I didn't), I remember the day so perfectly (and often daydream about it).  Walking around aimlessly, looking at the artists at work (I bought a lovely painting/sketch), being given little chocolates in the chocolate shop, and my favorite--drinking chocolat chaud under the tent of an outdoor café (of the restaurant where we later had the most wonderful onion soup) in the pouring rain.  
Still, was that the happiest I've ever been?  I focused on Europe, on the places I went.  Then suddenly, it hit me, and I started to tear up.  This, I realized, was my happiest memory:
We were driving from Scotland to England.  Thanks to my obsessive documenting (although I do remember it very clearly), I actually have the moment caught precisely in my travel journal...
July 2nd, 2009
Just now back on the bus I had a lovely moment, an ultra-content moment.  I got my iPod out and clicked shuffle and Rogue Wave came on.  I listened as I looked out the window and heard the lyrics "Screw California" and was thinking a bit and remembered I'm due in California for Yearbook Camp quite soon--and this information just exploded in my mind, because this is not a dream, I am in Scotland.  I have a wonderful life back in the States.
I think being so separated from my life at home has made an impression on me.  I think this a very good thing, especially because I've never been ungrateful before and yet I feel so different about my life somehow.  I'm not sure how that works.  I guess it's a bit like stepping back and giving things a good look--It looks good.  I have so much to look forward to... from Yearbook to someday studying abroad (which I now am positive I will give a go at, possibly in Dublin if I don't get much better with my French).
I just want to run around the castles and up the hills all my life, with the sky laughing so much it cries.  I am very happy, especially after seeing yet another poster for Harry Potter & HBP.  
Until later--
And that, my friends, is my happiest memory, because it marked a small, yet greatly significant realization and opened my heart to a world of countless opportunities of happiness.
What's yours?


Katie said...

I love this. So much.

I'm not sure I could pin down a favorite memory...I think that's something that would take a lot of thought.

Maggie Shirley said...

This was very inspiring and lovely. I think I'm going to write a post about my happiest memory now. <3