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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

woman in a walker

I am distracted as I try to write. I try to concentrate - to put down my first thoughts, to burn through it, but for some reason I’m agitated – my mind is not clear. It is with this frame of mind that during one of my distracted street gazings I witness this scene: an elderly woman, partly crippled, laboring a walker down the sidewalk. She is heavy and her every shuffled step seems more painful than the last. She stops as she nears the coffee shop and bends down with arduous exertion to pick something up from the ground. I immediately assume she is reaching for some lost money. Instead it is a piece of discarded paper. She picks it up and with her shaky, flabby, non-muscled arm, stuffs the trash into the lap pocket of her large, white dress with pink and pastel green stripes. I watch curiously, wondering why she would to this, as she rises up with some difficulty to put both hands back on her walker. I realize then that she must use her pockets to contain loose items in order to maneuver her walker. She does this same trash-gathering act two more times on the walk right outside the window from where I’m observing, then turns herself and her walker around and shuffles about twenty feet to the community garbage can at the edge of the curb, pulls the trash items from her dress, deposits them into it and shambles her large aging body down the walk. I'm wondering how many people, with perfect ambulation,walked right past those items in and out of the busy coffee shop, down that walkway, and made no effort to pick up these scraps - including me. It is acts like this that help me see what life can be, and in a moment, it is.

Learning to observe is as important as learning to write.


  1. Michael, you do the most thought provoking "people" thing!
    So now I wonder: was she feeling duty-bound to do her little bit or in her aging mind was this some sort of obsession? I prefer the duty thought!

  2. You are so insightful Dannie! That is a good and debatable question. I sense that it may have been a bit of both.

    And thank you for your comment. I do enjoy observing humans in their acts of simple humanness.