After a morning with him I am so much more aware of the smallest details of the day. I see the sunshine shifting and hear individual bird calls. My time with him is without a schedule, devoid of technology and quiet. We have no Pandora/CDs/cassette tapes/albums or music for a score. My phone stays in the car when I pick my way through the gardens to the house. Everything stops at the front door except the time that will be spent.
Today he slept through most of our visit. I picked a book from his shelves by William Sargent. The impromptu bookmark was a flyer from Joppa Flats – a nature reserve near the town where I grew up. I enjoyed the author’s lively style and the familiar flavor of what and where he wrote. I also zoned out, sitting very still and feeling my friend’s breathing, tuning in the voices of the workers sitting in the sun before the barn sorting late harvest carrots and onions. I watched the chickadees flit from the naked lilac branches to the feeders and heard their incessant chick-a-dee-dee-dee.
I thought of my friend Mary, an artist whose paintings inspire me to look at the light and the simple things in life around me. She is motivated by the landscape and animals of her farm. What stimulates that part of the brain that causes someone to write or paint; to throw clay or blow glass, to dance or create music? Where do the random thoughts originate that bring beauty from simple ingredients? What is the recipe to bravely express yourself, that a child seems to hold securely with no fear of criticism or judgement?
And how are we, as humans, so uniquely endowed with it?