Daughter of noticing
I could tell that his back hurt. It was the way he walked. That semi-stooped over stance that I affect myself every morning and sometimes further when whatever it is causes the bad days. Or maybe it was his hip. I know that mine, the one that is as old as the one that was replaced, gives me a case of the bend-ies from time to time.
So, now I am noticing infirmity. How long ago was it that I noticed other things? But then, when I was younger, when I was working, when there were children at home, the world was so busy that noticing was pretty touch and go, mostly the latter. Survival meant that I had to be on schedule, that my “to do” lists drove my days, except …
Except for the times, when driven by who knows what impulse, I just drove around, slowly taking in, noticing things that I didn’t see.
In Syracuse, I found lovely neighborhoods with green spaces between the streets, old established corner stores that I thought had disappeared from the urban landscape forever, replaced by the mega supermarkets.
I found tennis courts right in the middle of the city. I found streets paved with bricks, and houses that looked like they came out of a children’s book.
I found laundry hanging out on lines, the sun whitening the whites and fading the colors just like it did when my mother hung the laundry out. I found young mothers with their babies in strollers talking easily in the shade of long ago planted trees, a community of interest working out its mission while the world revolved around them.
In the country, I found space, rolling hills of corn or other crops surging along the horizon, something you might think you would only see in the movies. And clutches of houses around a brook, in a valley that you didn’t know was there and vistas, so breathtakingly beautiful that you had to stop the car and just look. I found little shops advertising homemade pies or antiques or knives sharpened or hand printed signs for fresh eggs…noticing.
Today I have more time to notice. Kindness is what I notice in the Emergency Department at St. Joe’s. Everyone, the nurses, the techs, the docs, the housekeeping staff, the transporters are unfailingly kind even when they are met with its opposite.
I notice the elderly couples, devoted to each other, often sitting for hours while tests are done and analyzed, never complaining, always supportive, apologizing for things they didn’t need to apologize for.
And yes, I notice the arrogant, demanding patient or visitor too, but I remember as I have been trained that often, being in the ED, is one of the worse days in a person’s life, so I take my lesson from everyone else and practice what I’ve noticed. Most of the time it works beautifully. Sometimes it takes more time than others, but most of the time, the fear, the anxiety is diminished and we find a kinder common humanity. Many times it has something to do with a warm blanket or a cup of coffee.
How many times have I witnessed the security guards reaching out to one of the street people who frequent the entry to the ER and take the time to talk with that person who has no one to talk to in his homelessness?
I notice the children in our library, excited to check out the books they’ve found or return the ones they’ve read. Their eyes are full of wonder. What will they find to take home today? What a heartening thing to notice! It’s not all i-pads and smart phones. The library opens doors to worlds and worlds within worlds to explore, to discover.
And that gentlemen who walked as if his back hurt?
I watched him from the bottle return in the front of Nojaims as he grabbed a cart and shopped as I did that day. I knew that the shopping cart probably relieved his discomfort as it does mine. Kindred spirits in pain? We left at the same time as we headed to our cars. I got into my Honda Fit. I noticed him get into his car. He got into his bright red Mercedes sports car with a spoiler on the back.
I noticed that too.
May 25, 2017
May 25, 2017
May 25, 2017
May 25, 2017