In spite of its inevitable aging, my body is gradually becoming more fluid, more like a river. This is my secret, nothing I’ve tried to talk or write about until now. The fluidity is not about my ligaments, tendons, and muscles becoming more pliant or relaxed, although that may eventually be a side benefit. The fluidity is about letting more of life flow into me. Into my body that has protected itself for so long. Into my mind that is once again curious like the child who used to play with worms and collect tiny fossils and shells on the seashore – forgetting time.

To be wide open to life means that oceans and creeks, dark clouds, and wildflowers stream through me. Errant smiles of strangers, vignettes of wayside kindnesses, expressions of pathos or joy – these touch me deeply. I notice more and more, embracing it like a good novel with many unexpected turns. Sometimes I hold a fleeting experience as tenderly as a baby, realizing its preciousness. But not with a sense of clinging (This is mine. I need this. I want this.) Rather, I feel a gentle inward smile that simply says: ahhhh… this is what it’s like to be human.

I breathe in all that is around me, loving what is – most of the time. Feeling pregnant with this knowing of the primal connection between all things and myself, little me. And so the little me is gradually expanding, becoming softer, more joyful, full of seasons that all happen at once. Jade leaves sprouting and amber leaves floating down. Land that is burgeoning with a jungle of greenery, and yet makes a place for one perfect rock to stand alone.

I don’t mind it being like this. I’m very willing to pour out sunshine to anyone I meet and water the barren sorrows of our world with the rain of my compassionate tears. By the time I’m seventy or eighty, or eighty-four and a half, I may simple be a puddle somewhere, quietly evaporating. That is okay with me. In fact, it would be quite delightful - having taken it in fully – to gracefully relinquish life in this way.


I am floating free

Forgetting all boundaries

Everywhere myself.

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Tricia Narana McDowell