Sunday, June 28, 2009

Be Still

I know...I know...I've left you all hanging so long...sorry...the rest is yet to come.

But for now...

Just wanted to begin sharing. Like many of the wonderful blogs that I read...I'm going to try to write less words...same content...but more frequently. I still will include the occasional excerpt from "The Journey Learned" but...I'm feeling a need to communicate with the masses!!!

Life happens all around us...when we are too busy to slow the pace...breathe the air...and as an insightful new friend reminded me just recently...Be Still.

Today my wife and I visited Mill Creek's Riverside Gardens to escape into the sea of roses...we spent over an hour walking, talking, sharing and smelling a bouquet of the sweetest aromas. We sat on a shady bench, held hands and watched a hummingbird claim it's bounty amidst red velvet pedals. We whispered each other's love often without voicing a single word. I held her hand and she laid her hand on my weary back. The sun was warm and the breeze quenching. It was a perfect afternoon.

As we were leaving the garden I realized that I felt...Still. I'm sure that some of you know what I mean when I refer to...Still. I wasn't hurried, preoccupied by someone else's needs, my soul was quiet and I relaxed. I pointed toward a second bench and offered it to my wife. We sat again...this time amidst a different bouquet.

Across a large water fountain a man sat alone on an opposing bench...he cradled in his hands a store bought cup with a lid as if from a gas station. He occasionally lifted it and took a quenching sip. I suspected that it was coffee as I think that he mirrored the contented expression that I have after a sip of my favorite coffee. I did wonder if he was truly...alone. If so why and how. I tried to see in his face if he had suffered loss. I couldn't. I tried to see if he looked sad, happy or looked any particular way at all. Succeed again I didn't because his expressions changed. Sometimes he looked sorrowful but then would interrupt this expression with a soft smile. Sometimes he appeared to be deep in thought...he would stop fidgeting with his "coffee" cup and hold it still as his eyes pierced a blank stare. He would then slowly begin to roll the cup between both hands and break the trance. He did appear to be watching others...just like I was. Still.

On a bench opposite ours but also slightly to the right were two ladies. They were truly enjoying each other's company. They each took turns telling stories and...were very animated as well. This was very entertaining. I couldn't, and didn't really want to, hear the content of their stories. It was obvious, because of their likeness, they were sisters or at least closely related. Maybe it had been years since they had the opportunity to share each other face to face. Sharing each other they were. They each possessed a very discerning and jovial laughter. Their laughter made me smile. I thanked them silently for the refuge.
To our left walked a young couple. They looked to be in their 30s and atop Dad's shoulders was perched the cutest little girl with unkept "Toe-Head" hair. They looked both happy and tired at the same moment. I chuckled thinking of, not so many years ago, when I was half of a young couple chasing my kids around at the exact same rose garden. I also remembered that contented, exhausted feeling after finally getting them back home and to bed.

It was also quite noticeable that this little girl was the mirror image of her mom. I'm sure Dad was reminded of that every moment that he looked at her...kinda like "Love at First Sight"...time and time again. They made my heart warm.

We finally felt that it was time to make our way out of the gardens and up to our car out in the parking lot. I voiced out loud that I really didn't want to leave but also realized that we couldn't stay much longer. We left our bench and I quickly gave them all one last glance...just to make sure I hadn't missed anything. I whispered a quick prayer for all of them and turned and walked away. We walked up a neatly placed stone path and it was there that I received the greatest gift of the afternoon.

I first noticed her walking up in the distance. She walked with a stooped posture and a shuffling gate. Her hair was as white as many of the prettiest roses in the garden. Her legs were swollen and she wore support stockings. Because of this, her legs must have gotten hot on the warm summer day. Her pant legs were rolled up to just below her knees, very evenly I must say. I had to look close to realize that they were indeed long pants rolled up. This actually made me chuckle. She was walking very slow and it looked mildly painful to take each step. For this I immediately felt sadness.

She wasn't alone. He was very tall and possessed hair equally as white. His gait was much more steady but not swift on any account. He looked at her with almost every step they took. His features were more animated and hers were petite. She held his arm and he supported her failing steps with the perfect balance of strength and tenderness. With what then appeared as our youthful pace, we quickly caught up to them.

I greeted them with a comment about the beautiful day and they both quickly agreed. We exchanged niceties and I found myself slowing down for them just in case she stumbled. He began telling us about the wonderful events that had taken place at the Gardens yesterday...

5 weddings!!! He began describing what everyone was wearing and how nice they looked. He talked about how each bridal party had dressed the same...."They all must have been members of the same club or something"!! We all chuckled.

We slowly walked with them out to our cars and I watched as he helped her get into the passenger side..."She's 90 years old you know"!! I waited to see if she was going to give him the elbow for revealing her age. She did not. I guess there is a time in everyone's life that age is an accomplishment and not necessarily a secret. I still thought to myself...I'll never do that.

I looked into my mirror to make sure that she got into the car safely and then pulled away. I thought of a life spent together...57 years he admitted both braggish and prideful. She still looked as beautiful as the day they met I imagined.

I questioned if they would reach 58 years. I found myself wondering who would have to be alone then I quickly had to stop thinking about was too painful to think about...leaving the other....alone.

We then drove away. I snuck a glance at my wife and her at me. We didn't have to talk about our afternoon...but I did find myself holding onto her hand just a little tighter.

Be Still.
Excerpt from "Pure and Good" Copyright 2009


Sheshe said...

Nice, Medford. What a wonderful day. I don't remember who said it, but one of my favorite quotes is: "There is no greater love than that an old man has for his old wife."

jrmom said...

Thank you for this wonderful reminder. I could visualize each person perfectly. As you know I recently was reminded to slow down and be still. You and your family are such a gift and a calming force in my world...Thank You!

Darlene (SCS:akronstamperdpk) said...

Your writing always leaves me "content". While reading this story I felt like I was right there at that garden with you & your lovely wife!! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts ... you'll never know how much pleasure I receive in reading them. It's good to see you back here again!

Suzs said...

Welcome Back You have been Missed
On Your Last Post ,You allowed us go on a Journey and Peek in to Eloise World, With a Promise of more to come
We were worried about you, What had become of thr writer who took as on such Journeys ?
Had you Forgotten Us ?
Had you been writing undera Pseudonym ?
Had You Ran off and Joined a Rock and Roll Band ??
What Had Become of our Journeys Leader
At Last A New Post from you We Are here and ready to go again !!
We were in the Garden,Felt the Breeze,saw the Beauty of the Flowers, You Took us there !
Great Writing, Great Insite, Great Feelings !!
Thank You
Welcome Back , You have been Missed