Wednesday, December 02, 2015

A Moment

I was walking down the steps of the YMCA today after my swim.

Below me on the steps was a tiny, tiny person, just now able to walk. His mom was holding his hand, and every time he descended a step, he would start laughing.

He was bright and shiny and new.

I slowed down so that I could watch them until he reached the bottom. When he did, he looked up and smiled at me.

I smiled back.

When I finally looked away, I saw a woman slowly walking toward me. She was slightly stooped over, walking with a metal cane. Her face was a piece of dried fruit, dark and full of deep wrinkles. She smiled at me.

I smiled back.

In that moment, I was overwhelmed by the arc of her life. To be a tiny person walking down stairs with her mother, as she surely did, so full of possibilities. To live through an arc of seventy or eighty years, every day full of thousands of individual moments, all part of her. To come to terms, as everyone must, with her diminishing capacity as she reached the later stages of her life.

There is a kind of magnificence in life, even if we can't reach it all.

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