Tuesday, May 17, 2011

When I visit my friends at the nursing home...

...the first thing I do is look for an exit.  Those are the words of my friend Ardes.  She's 89.  And awesome.  (More about her soon, but I have to do things chronologically). 

Saturday morning I went to a "self-love" workshop.  I know what you're thinking... self love, like in a sexual way?  That was my first thought too, when I heard about it.  No, self love in the emotional/healing way.  It was a 2.5 hour workshop put on by Luciana Freire and Andrea Mueller.  I can't really go into a lot of detail about it, but I will say that it was worth the cost and the time.  It's important to be intentional and mindful of taking time for ones self.  I feel like I've been trying (unsuccessfully) to please a lot of people lately, and it's become overwhelming.  This self love workshop was a good opportunity to check back in with myself. 

Saturday early afternoon I drove to Ardes' house.  She lives in Litchfield, which is a little less than 2 hours away from me.  I arrived around 2pm, and was welcomed with a huge hug.  Hugging Ardes is always a little scary, because she's so tiny I don't want to break her.  Anyhow, I set my things down, made a cup of coffee, and got cozy in her TV room.  A few minutes passed and her friend Florence drove up.  "There's a baby cow running along Florence's car" I said to Ardes.  "Are you sure it's not a dog?" she asked.  Being a city kid, and not around cattle a whole lot, I had to think about it... no, I'm pretty sure it was a cow. 

We stood up and walked to the door to greet Florence...and sure enough, there was a baby cow right next to her car.  Florence said hello to the calf and Ardes went to call Dale, her neighbor who owns the cows.  Steve (another neighbor) walked over and looked at the calf, whose legs were struggling to keep it standing.  We stood around and talked for a few minutes, and then the calf took off running.  Keep in mind, this was a newborn calf, with wobbly legs and newly escaped from it's home.  We watched it as in ran off, and all just kind of stood around stunned.

We saw Dale later that night, out looking for the calf.  He didn't find it.  The next morning he was out there again, but didn't find it.  Had I known the calf would have ran away and not come back, I would have chased it.  Ardes and I joked on Sunday morning about what it would have looked like for me to chase a cow-- being a city kid and all-- I'd have no idea what to do once I caught up to it.

Saturday we (Ardes, Florence and I) went into town for dinner at the country club.  We ate from the salad bar; it was quite good.  Florence left and Ardes and I sat around Saturday night.  It was nice to talk to her about what's been happening in my life.  We talked about the self-love workshop and I showed her the folder of info they gave us.  She also shared her stories with me...it was a really nice, low key, love filled evening. 

Sunday morning we had breakfast-- I had toast with peanut butter, a bowl of maple nut ice cream, and a cup of coffee.  Ardes had some toast and coffee, but no ice cream.  I asked her if I could take a picture of her, so I could write about her.  She made some comment about not being pretty, to which I said you are beautiful.  She let me take a picture (see below). 

I was sad to leave Ardes on Sunday morning.  I had to get back to the cities so I could help my mom weed the garden.  When I say "help my mom" that means I do the work and she sits in her new lawn chair drinking a diet coke.  Either way, it was good to get my gloved hands in the soil again.  It's been a long winter, and being able to plant and see new growth is good for the soul. 

I should mention that before I left Litchfield, I told Ardes how much I appreciated being able to come visit with her.  I told her that it was good for my heart.  "It's good for me too," she said.  We both smiled.  I think what I like best about Ardes is that I can talk to her about anything (relationships, adoption, gardening, traveling, depression, college, etc...) and she's cool about it.  I also feel really blessed to be able to listen to her stories-- she's lived an amazing life, and continues to do so.  She's got a half acre garden plot (which really should be called a farm) that she maintains each year.  She's got 3 tractors (which she still uses regularly), and has the most beautiful heart.  Oh yeah, and she's hilarious-- did I mention that?

Ardes Shea-- May 15, 2011


jen said...

Really beautiful post. I loved it.

maryraymary said...

stunning photo: two beautiful hearts.

Lizz said...

Oh my goodness, you are BOTH beautiful!