This morning, on our way out hiking, we passed a tow-headed neighbor sitting cross-legged on his driveway, waiting for his Dad. He was clearly ready for the pre-school day ahead. He had his lunchbox in one hand and his umbrella, of which he was clearly proud, in the other. Seeing him took me way back, heart clenched with longing, to Eliot all geared up for the long trek to the playroom…
After duly admiring our young neighbor’s umbrella, we continued with our walk and the topic of the day. Money. There’s something about the chicks leaving the nest that makes you look around, dazed, wondering where all the money went. Today, I was too busy doing calculations in my head to notice the mist hanging in the canyon, too intent on laying out a new, more parsimonious, plan to stomp in a puddle just to make a splash.
On our way back, we passed another neighbor, out for his morning stroll. Though he clearly doesn’t need it, he always uses a cane. It adds a jaunty flair to his walk. After he passed, we talked about how smart he is. By the time he needs the cane, we agreed, he won’t need to fight it, or feel, as some older people we know do, that using a cane is somehow a failure or a deep loss. By then, it will just be part of who he is. A good part.
Note to self: while planning, plan on aging jauntily.
It has taken the emptiness of the nest for me to notice that embedded in every present day are pieces of the past and the future. I think they are there to remind me of what matters, and to show me how I really want to walk through my one and only present.