Thursday, April 11, 2013

Unexpected Wonder

Walking through the door of a "Board and Care" (re-resourced home) facility, I see a podiatriast completing care for an elegantly while simply dressed Chinese-American woman in her late 90's. She smiles towards me and raises her eyebrows in shared recognition.

After he leaves, she calls out to the facility manager, "hey, he left his glasses and that bag." We laugh. She says matter of factly, "absent minded."

As we talk, she laughs and says, "I quipped with him that when I die, I will be the best groomed corpse!" This leads to her telling me, "I've lived a long life and am not as strong as I used to be. I sleep most of the time and now I dream. Memories from my childhood..." 

I say, "sometimes I wonder if life is like a dream." She smiles and says, "oh yes, because we wish for things but in a dream, things don't turn out as you expect." 

I see a bright sparkle in her eyes.

I ask, "knowing that, what's important now?" She says, "to live one day at a time." I ask, "and as you do that, what then?" "Oh," she says in a softer tone, "I am thankful."

Just then, I see a round cake with candles lit. Everyone is singing, "happy birthday to you..." The cake is for a fellow resident. 

We all stop and enjoy a piece of unexpected wonder.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

At Arm's Length

Admiring his parrot pal, this fellow says to me, "hey, you wanna hold him?" He sees surprise and cautious delight on my face. Without hesitation, he places the bird on my arm.

I hold him, indeed, at arm's length as that coined-phrase takes on viscerally clear new significance. The colorful creature open his mouth and lunges (or so it seems from my vantage point) at my face. I instinctively pull my head back. Just then, the fellow laughs and says as if congratulating me, "That's good! You pulled your head back and not your arm."

The feisty bird offers no commentary. He remains to all appearances contentedly silent. I wonder if he is smiling.