In the pursuit of mindfulness, a former girlfriend and I got in the habit of reflecting on our days and sharing one moment that stood out.

“What was your moment for today?” she’d ask me.

It’s a nice thing to do as a couple.  She’s no longer in my life, but I’ve kept up the habit, when I remember.  I often reflect and contemplate in a general manner–perhaps too much–but there’s also something instructive about tracing the course of a day and simply thinking “what stood out to me today?”  It’s a revealing exercise in distillation.

I was thinking about my moment for today.  I  had just finished teaching a young-children class at my bushiban, and had an hour before I was supposed to go to a nearby high school I’d never been to and sub for a predictably distracted and juvenile class.  I was trying to amp myself into it, wondering if I should think more about what I was going to do, but figured there wasn’t any point in wasting brain power over it, because it never did any good anyways (and I was right).  So I went to a nearby park–more of what they would call a “parklet,” back in SF–and took a spot on a bench.  The park was a little triangle cutting through several unremarkable streets that I’ve walked down dozens of times, across from a couple stores where I’ve sometimes bought fruits and nuts from.  Old people and toddlers drifted about, and the sky radiated a warm humidity mixed with a semi-smoky haze.  Obnoxious sounding scooters raced by.  Nothing special.  I ate a pear and then opened a can of dates I had just bought, imported from..Iran.  When I took the lid off, I was a bit disappointed.  Compared to the juicy, bulbous varieties I’m used to buying in the farmer’s markets in the Bay, these were small and simple looking.  Still, I thought it was a good sign they were imported from Iran–a place that takes its dates seriously.

I popped one in my mouth..and was surprised to experience a surprisingly luscious sweetness, a flavor palate unique to a proper date.  I realized it was the first date I’ve eaten since being in this country.  That familiar sweetness which had been forgotten was my moment for today.

(and here’s the soundtrack)