Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Importance of Moment

My morning walks can get quite monotonous if I let them, so each day I try to choose a different tape to put into the walkman, go in a different direction and enjoy the moment.

Today I enjoyed the great blue hydrangea bushes in one of the yards. I passed Ann Adams’ house but the familiar kitchen light wasn’t on. School is out so she must be sleeping in until writing class. Down Bowie, past Ann Syndek’s immaculate yard, then up Harrington and the houses with the steep back yards, I am at Edmonston Street now and turn back toward my street. Nana Mouskouri is singing sweetly in my ear about “Vagabond”. Is that the theme to the stark but beautiful French film about a wandering hippy that my husband and I saw? I don’t know.

Up ahead I see an old woman in shorts and walking shoes sitting on the grass – there is a cut on her knee but she seems calm. I approach and ask, “Are you OK?”

“I can’t get up,” she answers. “I sat down for a rest and I can’t get up.” I tried to take an arm and gently pull but that didn’t work. “I’m pretty heavy,” she said – she wasn’t, really, but had no strength to help me. I got behind her, gritted my teeth, put my arms under her arm pits and pulled with all my strength. Just when I thought we would both go back down she managed to regain her balance and stand. Her hands were shaking.

“I was just out walking and got tired,” she repeated.

“Where do you live?” I asked, deciding to walk with her.

“Down there,” she said, pointing to Cabin John Parkway a block away.

“You look pretty shaken up,” I said. “Let me walk with you.”

“It’s my medication,” she said. “I’m fine.” Just then a car came toward us and pulled up at the curb. “Oh, it’s my husband checking up on me,” she laughed. A serious looking man got out and opened the back door of the car. After he asked my name twice and discovered why I was walking with his wife, he thanked me and got her into the car and they drove away.

I continued home. Nana now sang “Amazing Grace” in my ear. I had been to one of her concerts and heard her do this number a capella – gooseflesh rose at the memory. The words made me glad I had been there and brought home also the fragility of life and time, the importance of the moment, the joy of the now.

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