I am riding my bike on Lobersterville Road, an embarrassingly short ride but a magnificent one none the less. The smell of rosa rugosa is overwhelmingly intoxicating. I am inhaling and smiling and pedaling. And then I am thinking. Did you ever smell anything so sweet? That color pink, isn’t that exactly the color of the bathing suit I want? Almost a magenta. Look at all the daisies growing wild on the side of the road. I would love wild daisies in my meadow. I could just pick a few by their root and plant them and I bet I could have a field of those happy things by next spring.

Then, like in dreams where transition isn’t necessary, I jump right to, how is it that I live here? In this beautiful magical place? How did I get here? What quirk of fate decided I would have such beauty and ease in my life. And then finally after all the vital mental chatter, I catch myself, the thing I have been trying to do for a million lifetimes, the thing that stops me from literally smelling the literal roses. The compulsive thinking thing. The constant monkey mind. The problem is, I can’t smell the flowers and be in my head describing the flowers at the same time. Left brain meets right brain. That old corpus callosum. Mine seems to be in need of bridge repair. The questions, the rhetorical questions. The constant meaning of life rhetorical queries that don’t get me anywhere.

I once had a therapist who said, why do you give everything away so fast? Thirty years ago when she asked the question, I thought she had meant stuff. My sister would say, I love that T-shirt, and off would come the T-shirt. A friend would say, I love that mug and before she could finish her lemon ginger tea, I had pushed it into her bag. But my therapist hadn’t meant my mugs and my clothes. She had meant my experiences. Why editorialize them, why put them in poems so fast, why call someone and talk about them. Why couldn’t I just have them, she wondered.

In the early seventies I read Be Here Now by Ram Dass, the landmark book of the sixties, the book that changed my life, the book that changed a lot of peoples’ lives. I remember thinking, how brilliant. What a concept. I never heard of such a thing. I never heard such wisdom. Such sage advice. Yet it’s so obvious. Kids do it all the time. Me? I tend to be there then, or before or after, but during? During is a big challenge for me.

One time, when the idea of a “now” was still new, I was walking in the woods talking to myself. Be here now! Wow. I wanted to live like that. In fact, I thought, I’m going to live like that. From now on. I’m not going to keep thinking of what I should have said and what I should have done and what I’m going to say and what I meant to do and what I plan to do . I must have spent 25 minutes with this monologue looping around and around in my mind. All of a sudden an acorn plopped right on top of my head. I looked up and then laughed for a solid 95 seconds. God, or whoever is in charge of my self-awareness alarm clock, has a sense of humor and rang the buzzer.

Right, I laughed. Be here now. Yeah. Definitely. Cool. Going to try that. Going to remember this. Going to commit to that discipline.

Right after I call my sister and tell her about the roses.

Nancy Slonim Aronie is the author of Writing from the Heart: Tapping the Power of Your Inner Voice (Hyperion/Little Brown) and teaches the Chilmark Writing Workshop. She is a commentator for NPR.