Venturing up to the top of the street, my knee braced and cane in hand, I walk alone, observed only by a solitary hawk drifting on outstretched wings overhead. The air feels warm and soft on my face. Crocuses bloom purple and gold next to the mail box and a cluster of daffodils with pale green stems stands with tight yellow buds preparing to unfurl. The grass and ivy, washed clean by overnight rain, glisten in the sun and as I walk, I have a sense of well being. I feel optimistic for the first time since my leg injury last September.
"I'm going to try walking alone this morning. Do you think it'll be alright?" I asked my husband.
"Sure," he said. "Just take your cane and phone."
As I pass the spot where I fell last September, I look at the hard gray asphalt and think, "This is where I encountered old age. Abruptly!"
The truth is, my knee is healed but it's not as good as new. It's not going to be either. I'm going to be partially dependent on a cane for the rest of my life and my real hiking days are over. But today, I'm okay with that. I've made peace with my situation. And for all the agility and athleticism I lost, I've gained an appreciation for the inevitable shift from body centric youth to the more contemplative pleasures of old age. Then I recall the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else."
Emerson was right, I think. Everything's a trade off.
I continue walking up and down the street. The mail truck passes and the post lady and I both wave.
Last night's rain must have been a gully washer. Earthworms are scattered, distressed and feeble, all over the street, washed out by the over night downpour. With a gentle hand, I pick them up one by one and place them back on the velvet blanket of the good black earth, covering each with a cool,damp leaf.
Surely a few of them will survive but more will probably die. "Oh well," I tell myself, "At least they'll die at home in their beds instead of on the hard gray asphalt of this unforgiving street."
I watch some lie inert where I place them, but others wriggle and begin trying to burrow right away.
"Earthworms, people, what's the difference?" I muse. "Perhaps I'm no more to the Dreamer than these earthworms are to me. But at least I can be merciful and then maybe, just maybe, I can hope that the Dreamer will also be merciful to me."
Then I pick up my umpteenth earthworm and place him in the loamy soil, covering him with a withered brown leaf.
* * * * *
Randall called me this week to let me know that he's almost finished mastering my new piano album and he says it sounds very good, which makes me very happy! A collection of Nocturnes for Solo Piano, I still haven't decided what to call the album. If you have a suggestion, you can shoot me an e-mail.
As always, I thank you for visiting Dogwood Daughter. If you find anything here that makes your heart sing, please share Dogwood Daughter and Lily Cat Music for Kids with someone else today. You are the only advertising I have. Thanks!
Be Well and Good Luck