Living in the Moment
Willa snugged her cap down on her head, checked her pockets to make sure she had tissues and her inhaler then opened the door. She was heading out for her, doctor mandated, daily walk and wasn’t feeling it today. The arthritis that had kept her sleepless most of the night was still complaining this morning and she was feeling stiff and cranky.
She hoped she was seeing the last of the cold weather. Winter was determined to keep its icy fist clinched until the bitter end. Spring was due in a couple of days and it was in for a chilly reception.
She started down the driveway in what she knew was not really a hardy stride but at least a determined one. At the end of the drive she turned right, wanting to get the longest hill out of the way. Laboring up the long slope she had to stop and catch her breath. When she had finally crested the gradual rise, she stopped again to ease the gripping spasms in her back.
The frigid air threatened to make her bronchial tubes seize and she considered using her inhaler but instead forced herself to breath slowly in and out through her nose. She knew this would warm the air before it entered her lungs and calm the twitching.
Truth be told, she loved her walks. Especially when it was chilly and she had the roads to herself. The feeling of isolation and disengagement was freeing. Her small neighborhood was tucked into a rolling wooded area. This time of year the stark tree branches did little to veil the houses from passersby but in summer their boughs reached out to embrace the homes, like leafy green cloaks.
While Willa walked she tried to “stay in the moment.” That was the term bandied about these days for, “Pay attention”, she thought. It wasn't always easy.
She had always heard that, Wisdom comes with age, and she supposed it did. She could manage the budget, put together a fair pot of soup and identify most of the plants in the garden. All things she had learned through observation, experience and practice. Age had also given her the sixth sense of intuitiveness, a trait often lacking in the young. She was not sure if the trade off was fair but having only the two options; living or dying, she would try to make the best of what was behind door number one.
She had moments when she still felt like her awkward, insecure teen self. Then, all she had wanted was to fit in. More often than not though, she was content to be the quirky old woman she had become.
But, thinking back she remembered how her legs could prance her up and down the stairs in thoughtless abandon, never consciously taking the steps, just moving of their own volition. She remembered how her nimble body moved on the dance floor, synced in perfect rhythm with the music. She had felt free to take risks then, her youth insulating her with a blanket of innocence and making her blind to the existence of consequences.
Ah, but here she was, not being in the, moment, not noticing that the robins had returned from wherever they go in winter. They were looking disgruntled and curious about the less than welcoming temperatures. She was not noticing the timid tree buds just starting to show themselves on the crabapple trees. She was noticing, that the vise gripping her back had loosened its grip.
She had walked her mile out and now turned to retrace her steps. Finding the daunting hill of before, nothing more than a gentle slope that nudged her along her way. She looked forward to getting back home, that warm place where her mate of so many years waited, where she would find her comfortable chair and a hot cup of coffee.
That’s the thing about moments, she thought. When you are old, there are moments within moments, one leading to the others like pearls on a string. That’s a good thing about getting old, you get to choose which moments you want to live in.
Carefully climbing the last two steps into the house she opened the door and heard, “How did you do?” she enjoyed this moment and said, “Great, I made it the whole two miles.”
As she pulled off her hat she wondered, where do the robins go in winter?
Diana, for the Poplar Grove Muse