It’s been a rough few days. A few days ago, I mentioned that my dad had a bit of a tumble, which makes it sound (almost) cute. It wasn’t. His fall resulted in an ER visit, a transfer to a bigger hospital because his injuries were grave, and two major surgeries.
He is in his early 80’s and my mom is just sidling up to that age, too. Youngsters, they’re not. But they are troopers… both of them… and have done the right things to facilitate healing. He’s not out of the woods yet… but he’s in a clearing. My mom is there with him. So is my sister, who thankfully was able to get there almost right away. As for my dad, he’s stable and his pain is managed. Mom has finally slept (thanks to my sister trading places with her). I’m thousands of miles away… and up. It’s difficult being so far away but I’m being kept up to date and plan a visit in January.
Today, we had our first snow. As I was walking out to my car, I thought of what my dad has been going through because of a simple fall. He is one among many seniors who fall and find themselves in a cascade of medical issues… some resolvable, some not. As I am nearly 60, let’s face it, I too am rounding the corner into Seniorville. I’m already clumsy. I already have bad knees. I already get distracted (ADHD and anxiety). Snow is slippery. It’s a perfect storm of WATCH OUT! I was extra careful today.
This got me to thinking… about paying attention and first snows. If you don’t live where it snows, you won’t know that the first snow has a sound that is unique to all the snows that follow. It is like silence… but not. It is like white noise… sound and no sound, all at once. It looks and sounds magical. But you must pay attention or you’ll miss it altogether.
Later snow sounds heavier. The purity of the first snow is buried beneath, clinging to blades of grass and pebbles. This snow is harder, crunchier. It sounds like gravel or shards of glass under your boots.
By February, the snow is gray and dark and sounds like Charles Dickens knocking at your soul. You hate it. You curse it. It laughs at you.
Drivers are going too slow or too fast. There are ruts in the road that you drop into, hoping to avoid slip-sliding-away. My husband and I once saw a car speed past us on the highway.
“What an idiot,” my husband said. “He’s gonna spin out!”
As we neared the next off ramp, there he was, spinning around. I mean, 360°. Instant Karma.
As we drove past, he looked shocked, spinning around. I watched in the rear view mirror as he straightened out and went on his way.
Yes, snow can be beautiful and dangerous. And so can aging.
The trick, I think, is to be respectful of the process and careful on the journey. You have to see it for what it is… a season… that moves ever forward. As it should.
I notice things. I feel things. It can be annoying. It can also be a gift. I choose to see it as a gift.