My friends and I rode horse back through the luscious greenery of Vinales, Cuba. We arrived at the tobacco fields and I tied my horse, Mariachi to the tree. The farmer graciously welcomed us to his fields. With pride, he educated us on his work. He shared with us the history as the farm has stayed in his family for hundreds of years. He showed us the tobacco leaves and taught us how to roll a proper cigar.

We took a short hike to a nearby lake with our new friends we met at the farm. A cigar in one hand and a mojito, made by our host, in the other. I basked in the glory I was watching the most beautiful sunset over the lake. I was surrounded by gregarious fellow explorers I just met, our host and my lovely friends. It was a Tuesday evening and I thought, I’m living my best life right now.

It was a moment I longed for on our journey. Time stood still. The sound of laughter filled my ears, the smell of the crisp air, the feeling of grass grazing on my legs, the taste of the fresh mint in my drink. I’m entranced by the beauty surrounding me.

I floated into a cloud of bliss, then felt a stroke of guilt in my heart. I thought of you. I shed a tear because more than anything, I wanted… no, I needed to share this moment with you. I want you to see what I see, feel what I feel, taste what I taste, hear what I hear.

Maybe if I let my thoughts be consumed by you… you’ll come back. You’ll grab my hand and tell me that you’re here in this moment. And I think, maybe this moment feels so peaceful because you’re here with me in a way I can’t logically explain.

In life, the best moments are not truly appreciated without its opposition. The taste of hot tea during a bitter, cold evening in the snowy mountains. Unexpectedly seeing a firefly illuminating light in the darkness. The touch of a loved ones kiss in the midst of a goodbye at the airport. The loud silence the moment before you close your eyes in bed after a long, stressful day at work. The sweet smell of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven when your stomach is growling.

Life is about taking the good with the bad. The beautiful with the ugly. Knowing when to fight and when to seek peace. The delicacy of order and chaos. The frustrating and alluring dichotomies are the defining moments in my life. Especially, the moments I am nervous, but I continue anyway in finding a moment of courage to new discoveries. These are the moments I feel most alive.

I allow my tears to fall as I saw the day collide with the night sky. I finished my drink and my cigar was no longer lit. My friend put their hand out and I grabbed it as I started getting up. I took a long silent pause, soaking in this moment and smiled. I took a mental picture, of not only the image, but all the sensations. I took the mental picture and sent it right over to you. I stood still in gratitude, in despite of losing you, you gave me the greatest gift. A love that I feel in every aching bone and every crevice in my soul. Great sorrow is proof of great love.

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