I find my days including aged beings. Whether it is Dahlia, who is deaf and I must find, usually snoozing in a sunbeam, for meals or encourage to come in as the mercury drops at night, or others in my life, lately the need to slow down and look at how moments pass has dominated my waking hours.
(That must be the longest, one sentence, opening to a post you’ve ever read. Stick with me here…)
It’s true. With age, we take the long route and savor the journey. Last week, I repeatedly tried to steer my hospice client on our walk along the driveway. He was hell-bent on being outside though the thermometer read 15° in the sun. I bundled him up and ignored my thin attire, figuring, “How long could he possibly want to be out there?”
Longer than I thought. He maneuvers with two canes, and we stopped to just catch our breath often. We meandered toward the barn. His two cows were sunning themselves in the bare patch of pasture the recent thaw had exposed. We noted the dips and broken black top in the driveway where the water lines ran from the cows’ pen to the chicken coop across the yard. At the barn, he ducked inside and I worried about the floor boards that bent under my own meager weight. He wanted to see the repairs someone had made to the roof; scoffing at how things weren’t as he would have done them, but also reveling in the familiar sights and smells of the building.
After almost 60 years I’ve crossed over. It occurs to me I have probably lived more than half my life. I don’t remember thinking, at 45, “Well isn’t that interesting? I’m about half way through this journey!” Maybe other people do have that revelation and it has just taken me longer than most.
The slowing down doesn’t bother me one bit. There are times where I fall into the hurry-up mode. In the past, it was a way of life. “It’s the one on the right asshole. Push the accelerator and go the speed limit at the very least!!!” Now, I take the back roads and if some little old woman is muddling along, at or below the speed limit, I have more patience. At least I know she is focusing on the sensation of driving and being aware. The kids, whizzing along on my tailgate, are texting and totally expecting their space ship to deliver them to their destination intact.
If the dog requires rousing because she is blissfully living out her dotage in a silent world, if a man just wants to walk in his familiar yard and ignore the elements, who am I to speed up life for them? I am the pupil here, not the teacher.