Today I needed a day to get centered, out of my head, without anyone or technology. I took my time getting up after a wonderful night of continuous sleep. I thought about staying in my P.J.’s and just taking it easy but I opted to put on a sundress, sandals and head outside into a gorgeous mountain day. It was going to be a slow day in our retreat center. I have to take advantage of these days. I drove to Barnes and Noble, drank a wonderful coffee and spent more than two hours going through books and magazines. Nearby an elderly couple sat sharing ideas for a new garden with each other. They discussed their holiday plans with their children, grandchildren, and extended family. They spoke of doctor appointments. Every once in a while she would touch his hand ever so gently as he browsed through magazines. She took out her little pill box and gave him medication. All the meanwhile I sat wondering about the amount of time these two people have spent together in this lifetime. How many moments of joy, intimacy, laughter, sadness, remorse, anger, love, forgiveness, loss, and other scope of emotions that can either break or mend a relationship. They were so lovely. At one given moment she got up to get another book and he helped her. Then he waited for her return to help slide her chair. These are the stories that grab me, take me into a place of serenity, and give me hope for our humanness. I hope those moments are not wasted in past generations. Chivalry, politeness and generosity seem like a lot to ask in these times.
There’s something so tender about watching a couple who has been with each other for decades. You can always tell which ones have a mutual respect and which ones can’t wait for the other to just hurry up and drop dead. When I witness such sincere appreciation it makes my heart melt. True human spirit shines when no one is present. These two fragile souls seem to have a connection that beamed from each other…a collective of oneness.
Evidently, what I thought would be a day of not writing at all turned into pages in my journal, which I had placed in my purse (cause you never know when the muse might visit). It had been a while since I had a day of no interaction with another. Usually once a month I try to give myself this treat, but it has been several months since I indulged in a day of solitude. Funny thing was that I wasn’t alone. I was more involved in the couple’s story than they could ever imagine. It’s a bit embarrassing to think I was that absorbed in their stories. But, shhhhh, they don’t need to know!
Listening to their random tones, sweet words, and concerns, made me think of how it must be to be with someone that long. How does it feel to know someone’s secrets, pains, fears, weaknesses and all their attributions, successes, virtues that no one ever sees? Couples who truly love each other after fifty years begin to look alike. They finish each others’ sentences. They know that silence speaks volumes. There is a connection that goes beyond anything else in our humanity. There is a knowing that breaks all barriers of time and space. I guess it doesn’t matter if it’s a year or 60. Mutual respect, similar beliefs, love and depth are the foundation blocks to any relationship.
Between one thing and another, checking out new bathroom ideas through all the home/garden magazines, mentally tearing down walls in my kitchen, creating a new deck with a bunch of pictures, going through travel books, and checking out recipes I began to feel gratitude for their presence near me. They reminded me of something I’ve been missing in me.
The following poem wrote itself:
Tell me something I don’t know
like the scars left in your soul.
Share the silliness of a fool
so I can join in your laughter.
Reach to the depth of dreams
and tell me what scares you
never leaving a single detail
of the truth you hide inside.
I’m not going anywhere.
I have a lifetime of compliance,
Disclose to me what is comfort,
I need to dive in your ocean
providing a safety net to grab
when you feel the turmoil
of the rip tides pulling you down.
Divulge the climates, terrain,
and landscapes that have brought
you to this place now.
Tell me something of importance
and then the irrelevance of today,
and finally the vision of a tomorrow
without really planning any absolute.
Express those things that make
in the presence of others,
and in the darkest of hours.
Allow me to partake in this
the path to the unknown,
and back to all that is right in life…
all that is greatness in the divinity