I will sit outside until the light fades, I will suck up every molecule of warm air and sun, every note of birds’ songs. I will quiet my thoughts and hear the water trickling down the mountain side, small streams joining forces to become babbling brooks, merging into gushing currents moving sand and leaves, damming then rerouting.
The earth is old now, and new. Clear as black and white, I see the laugh-lines appearing on its weathered face as new growth is born on every limb.
His wife was away but the house was bustling when I arrived. The caregiver and a family friend were having coffee in the kitchen as I passed through on my way to his room. He was sleeping lightly and roused when I entered, giving me a stern smile. “You’re late!” I took his hand and said hi. “Cold hands as well!” Our usual greetings exchanged, I sat on the floor beside his chair and asked if he felt like taking a walk outside. He is moving so much more slowly than a year ago. More deliberate care is taken and it gives us time for small side-trips in the conversation as we proceed. The railings, installed in much of the house, disappeared when we reached the kitchen and we pondered how that could be changed, or not.
Once outside, I settled him in his wheel chair and we strolled to the barn. The ground slopes down and is still soft so I didn’t dare get any closer. There are three new baby goats in the barn. His caregiver carried each, individually up the slope and he held them on his lap, removing his heavy mittens to stroke their soft bodies. Later, as we sat in the sun overlooking the farmyard, he turned and said, “I’ve never liked goats. Never had them before. I think I like them now.” Old and new…