The Gift of Presence

As a driver, I cut my teeth on the highways and byways of metropolitan New York. Fear of speed and traffic was not a part of my lexicon. A serious car accident, however, changed all that in a flash. My sense of security and control flew right out the shattered window with the glass that sliced my hand to the bone.

I recently attempted to take the highway to a doctor’s appointment that I always took and felt like I’d been through a war by the time I arrived. Adrenaline running through my body at hyper speed, heart pounding, hands shaking I found myself sitting in the parking log completely disassociated. I had no sense of where I was or what I was supposed to be doing. My body was numb and barely a part of me.

When faced with this daunting trip again, I decided I would take the back roads to my destination. It would be worth any extra time to maintain my peace of mind. What actually occurred was even better!

The “back roads” are actually among the most beautiful roads in this part of North Carolina as they meander through the wide open, rolling farm lands. It’s quiet, peaceful and filled with natural entertainment and a blast to drive in beautiful weather in a convertible! Bending and turning and singing my way into the quaint little artistic and bustling streets of a neighboring town, I reach my destination relaxed and even on some mornings invigorated!

Today, on my way home I noticed up ahead a stopped car and what looked to be birds crossing the road. When I came a little closer what I saw was a gaggle of geese traveling very calmly and without care from the corn field on the right to the corn field on the opposite side of the street, stopping traffic in both directions. (Traffic was me and the other guy already stopped!) They just made me laugh out loud! They were so nonplussed! Enjoying the moment and indifferent to any problems they may have been causing. They reminded me of a little group of old ladies,who are so often so totally present in themselves that they are indifferent to any stressed out goings on around them. Weighted firmly in their hips, round and rolling, these geese did not care that they had enormous wings that would quickly carry quickly out-of-the-way. They were enjoying their stroll and being together. It was all that mattered.

Wise old women often carry themselves in just such a way. No longer vexed by day-to-day scurrying about, they know what’s important. They know what matters. They know that now is the moment to savor and enjoy. There is no particular place to go that is any more important that what is. What a gift! The image of these geese crossing the road will forever be an image I carry in my mind of who I want to be when I’m a “dangerous old woman”!

About Dorothy Sander

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