Wednesday, June 7, 2017

“Is it so small a thing
To have enjoy’d the sun,
To have lived light in the spring,
To have loved, to have thought, to have done.”

~ Matthew Arnold

We’re in the gardens at the care home where my mother-in-love lives. Gerry is pushing her wheelchair while she mostly dozes; I’m walking alongside with Maya on her leash.

The flowering bulbs are finished, the bed they adorned raked clean waiting for more finery to fill empty spaces. In a raised bed, radishes, lettuce, beets, spinach, and a good variety of weeds, grow; in another, strawberries are beginning to blush. Colourful assortments of flowers grow in large rectangular pots that are the perfect height for a wheelchair-bound person to admire. The large lilacs are finished but a smaller hybrid of some sort fills the air with a sweet perfume as we stroll past.

We meander, pausing here and there, stopping always when we encounter a resident who expresses delight at our little Yorkie. I lift her up so they can see her better, they coo and pet her, and often tell me about the little dogs who were once their precious companions.

A few weeks ago, I spent a pleasant few minutes chatting with a lovely woman who took notice of Maya. She told me about her family who lived far away, and how she was going to buy flowers for herself on Mother’s Day. I thought she was a care aide until I saw her later, in distress, being gently escorted toward the elevators: “Do you mean I live here?”

On this day, we walk slowly and quietly. It’s a slow day for Mum and she doesn’t respond much. We hope she appreciates the opportunity for a walk in the garden anyway. As lunchtime approaches we move toward the doors leading back inside. I lag behind as Maya finds something important to sniff and hear something above. I look up to see the woman I talked with a few weeks ago knocking on the window. She smiles and waves and I do the same.

I doubt that she remembers our earlier conversation; she may not remember ever seeing me and my little dog before at all. But I remember, and even though I don’t really know her at all, as I greet her silently in that moment, I pay homage to a life that was and is a precious treasure.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. Dear Linda, this is a beautiful posting. Poignant and filled with the beauty of aging, which is as natural as the flowers that grow in those flower beds. Peace.

    1. Thank you, Dee, and I wish a peaceful day for you today.

  2. More beauty in your words. And even if that woman doesn’t remember, it matters. You bring smiles to people’s faces. (I found myself trying to see what reflections, if any, were in the drops of water on the leaf.)

    1. Ha! I looked for reflections in the drops too, Karen, I’ve seen images where they deliberately put certain things in the reflections on water drops. Maybe I’ll try that one day. Or maybe not.

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