Thursday, December 12, 2013

Honoring the Moment: Poetic Inspiration Found Within An Adult Day Center

I was captivated by two scenes which occurred on the same day and at the same time at The Bridge last week. Two women, independent of each other, decided to sit out from the group activities and simply do what they felt called to in that moment. I walked from one to the other, not imposing myself on them, and simply bore witness to their grace and their insight. I witnessed the poetry of stillness. The poetry of contentment.

Sitting at my desk in the back room, I heard the first woman sit down in a chair placed directly in front of a large window.  The window provides a clear view of Gastineau Channel and of snow covered mountains. Another senior walked up to her and asked if she was alright. Her answer touched me. I rose from my seat to view her profile. She was calm and quiet. She stared out the window. Her breath recalled a softly spoken prayer.

Another senior asked her the same question as the first and her answer was the same:

"I'm just sitting here grieving."


I walked into the next room, still contemplating this woman's ability to carve out of the day a space for her to grieve the loss of loved ones, and came across another scene of serene beauty. A second woman sat alone at a table having declined an invitation from a fellow staff member to join 3 or 4 other seniors playing cards.

There, amongst the movement and the conversation of others, she sat writing out notes on her reading. She is in her 90's and still has beautiful handwriting. I watched her hand move across the page and remembered the hand of so many children writing their first words. I thought of my own diaries at home and how each carries the weight of my history. I thought, too, of how many times I used the phrase "muscular memory" in regards to how the physical body records and learns motions and movements.

Here, now, I witnessed it serving her. She, who's memories have faded and are no longer linear in terms of what we think of as a time line, held her pen and moved it across the lined page with the ease that dragonflies etch still water. This was comfort. This was her present in a way that made my own heart tremble as I thought to myself, "Praise small acts, for these are the acts that will humble you."



rebecca said...

Susan--I just came upon your blog and was so moved. I'm working on my AMI training now and have been interested in Montessori in other arenas. Your beautiful blog (complete with poetry!) has so made my day. I see your last post was in December.... I know you're probably hard at work, but I do hope you're still writing.
all the best,

Anupama Sathya said...

Susan your blog and thought process has been so vivid and inspiring. I help in a Montessori training course and just yesterday, I spoke about - how the work the child does goes valid for his entire life and especially about the strong guidance the visual and muscular memory provides. I said "This remains for life" and here I'm witnessing it. It is "mind-blogging".