Category Archives: Noticing

The man at the pond

What moved you? What made you laugh or cry today? What did you notice?

Sometimes I ask myself those questions. They help me not take my life for granted. They help me feel more connected. And sometimes they make me bow.

But yesterday morning these questions were the last thing on my mind. In fact, not much other than a very grumpy mood was on my mind as I set out on my run. But that was about to change… And last night, remembering my questions, I bowed to the man at the pond. And then I gave my memory of it all a pen:

The pond has been frozen for several days now. Yesterday afternoon there were many children and puppies and peoples skating and slipping and sliding gleefully around on the ice, but this morning, it being Monday, a work- and school-day, not so many. This morning, after my run, I stopped at the pond again.

In the distance, a handful of skaters: one skating in smooth circles on a cleared patch to my right; in the middle distance to my left two others skating on another smooth patch; and closest to where I stood, on the right, a man and his boy simply laughing and rolling around on the ice. It was all quite enjoyable to watch in an absentminded, daydreamy way, but the person who really drew my attention stood a mere few feet to my left, doing nothing more than gazing at the skaters, and in particular one girl-woman who was too far for me to be able to tell her age, but by the way she moved, I’d say she was, at most, in her 20′s and possibly even, still in her teens.

The man was short, Latino-looking, and somewhere between mid-age and going-on-oldish age. A couple of feet behind us, on the bench, sat a very quiet boy, sucking his thumb, wrapped in several jackets including a woman’s coat. I wondered if the girl-woman was the boy’s mom. I wondered if the man who’d captured my attention was her father. Maybe he was watching the boy so she could skate. Really, I had no idea.

I watched the skaters, but mostly I wanted to watch the man watching the girl and so, as often as I could without being obvious, I cast a surreptitious glance his way only to find his eyes, still focused in the distance, on the girl. Mostly he was serious, though always his eyes were soft, and sometimes the edges of his mouth would venture up into the ever so slightest smile, which usually happened when she fell and quickly got up, or when she did some little twirl or wobbly pirouette.

His manner was shy, self-contained. Very quiet. And caring. At one point he turned and, seeing that one of the coats had slipped off the child, he went over and, with a tender touch, tucked the coats more closely around the boy before stepping back to his spot to take up gazing at the girl in the distance.

In this country, at least around here, when I see men of the ethnicity, the heritage, of this man at the pond, they are often wearing custodial clothing, mopping a floor here, cleaning dishes there. Not always, certainly, but often. This man’s clothes were in good condition, and he wore a baseball cap. He was neither poorly nor well dressed.

I am not sure why I was so taken by him. We never exchanged a word, nor did our eyes ever meet. I have no idea who he was or what in the world he does, but what I felt watching him was a kind of swelling in my chest, as if my ribs had suddenly become far too tight for my heart. I can feel it in my body, even now, just remembering. I could try to name what that is, that feeling in my chest, but words fall so short. A name, a label, wouldn’t even come close to doing it justice. My body knows better.

I realize that if my little scene here, the one I’ve just told you, were a movie, it’d be sorely lacking in plot. What can I say! Sure, I can’t help wondering about the man: what are his hopes, his dreams, his fears, his loves? Really, I have no idea. But I’m pretty sure I am right when I say that two of his loves were there at the pond this morning. As well as a woman —a stranger— with a rib cage too tight for whatever was happening in her heart.

I tip my hat to the man at the pond. And to you. Thanks for reading. I hesitate to even post this for I wonder: did you have to be there?

Ah well. It’s just a blog. But tell me, if you want, what have you noticed lately?

a quiet hello

The Pause–
it’s on the corner of Now and Notice,
where that old dive, Reaction,
used to be.

Happy hour every day!
Come in any attire,
all moods welcome.

Also? Hottest bartender ever
Presence is his name.

Be sure to try their signature drink
Patience, I think it’s called—
not sure of the secret ingredient,
but from what I can tell
it’s got some muddled Time,
macerated in oak barrel-aged Joy.
Seriously? Best drink ever.
(And don’t worry about getting drunk
on it, even the hangover is great!)

The Pause, meet me there?

~ * ~

The hoopla and flash of December have passed… the days are short, the nights are long, and the trees are bare.

Ahh, January, hello there. And hello you, curious reader. How are you and 2012 getting on?

I remember a phone conversation with my youngest brother around this time several years ago… Summer girl that I am, I was probably complaining about
winter. Danny, on the other hand, loves winter and I just had to know why.

“The trees are bare,” he said, “and I can see so much more when the trees are bare.”

Interesting, isn’t it?

Danny is right. Bare-branch days give us wide angle lenses, perfect for seeing the bigger picture.

When I take a moment to pause and get a sense of 2012 and what it might want for me, I feel it a-buzz with energy. It’s not the hyper and static-y buzz of television, but a kind of glowing warm hum…

I listen more… Yes, 2012 wants me to fall in love with life. Oh wait, it’s got more… it says you can’t love things you don’t notice, and that you are much more likely to notice things when you pause.

Ahh, to pause. It’s the easiest and the hardest thing to do. And it’s my aspiration for 2012.

And you? Have you checked in with 2012 to find out what it might want for you? Give it a try. Often we think we need to make things happen… making things happen is tiring and usually involves a lot of things we think we should do but in our heart of hearts aren’t fully on board about.

What happens when you get quiet for a moment, look through the bare trees, and ask your life what it wants for you?

If it’d help you to write it out loud and tell us what it says, you can add a comment below, or drop me a line. I’m here, and I’d love to hear.

Also? My office is open and my massage table warmer is on. Mmmm… Here are my hours this week:

Thursday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

(And yes, there are openings!)

Listening and curious about what’s in store, and looking forward to seeing you soon…


Introducing my favorite superhero for oof-stories.

Come on over to Leah Piken Kolidas’ “Creative Every Day” blog, where I wrote a guest post about my favorite superhero for hard life-stories.

Heidi’s Table

2464 Massachusetts Ave. #405
Cambridge, MA 02140


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