On a summer afternoon, when time had stilled, its moments blossoming wide and deep as sky, he reached for a peach from the picnic basket. He felt the texture of its fuzzy skin against his lips as his teeth pressed into its fragrant flesh. The burst of its tangy sweetness drenched his mouth.
From the lake’s edge, the laughter of the children floated up around him and willow boughs waltzed in the warm breeze casting shadows on the lush grass. Finishing the peach, he stretched out on the blanket on the grass and gazed at the whipped cream clouds floating overhead beyond the willow’s branches.
He remembered how, when he was a child, the clouds took on the shapes of animals and soon he saw a lion and an elephant floating past. He watched their shapes morph for awhile, and then he closed his eyes and bathed in the serenity of it all.
He wondered what stroke of fortune brought him to this unexpected moment, this island of tranquility. He wondered how he had lost sight of how good it was to let himself feel this peace. What a remarkable taste of happiness this was, he thought. No urgency, no rush, no deadlines.
He knew all those things awaited him and that he would get lost again in their whirl. But what if he could take this moment with him and relive it in the midst of the mad crush?
He pictured himself in the conference room with everybody huddled around the big walnut table, typing into their notebooks, texting on their phones, fighting to get their opinions heard. And he saw himself leaning back in his chair, seeing elephant clouds floating over Jane’s head and smiling. Everyone would wonder what he was up to, he thought. He laughed out loud.
On Wednesday, he gave it a whirl. The elephant clouds turned into an idea for solving the problem at hand. When he spoke it, he sounded so calm and sure that everyone listened.
At lunchtime, he walked to the deli and bought himself a peach.