Earlier this never ending summer, when out for a walk, I received a text from a lovely friend. She asked me about the current forest fire raging in the provincial park where my husband works, and how he was dealing with the stress. I replied that my husband was pretty stressed and very, very busy. She asked if I have trouble keeping up to him, and I replied "I don't try. I provide soup and a soft landing." She replied, "We're good at that!!" She was nursing an injured husband at the moment. As I continued with my walk, I smiled at the phrase that had popped into my head, "soup and a soft landing" and thought it would make a good title for a book. I don't have a book in me, so a blog post will have to suffice.
Sometimes, when I am questioning my post-active-years-of-motherhood purpose here on earth, something happens to remind me of the benefit of simply being here for the people I love. Or even just for people in general. In August I worked at the local sunflower festival. I worked in the farm store, mainly just taking people's money and answering questions. Our visitors were from all over the world. I met folks from the Philippines, India, Ireland, France, Texas, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Ecuador, and beyond. Flower festivals seem to bring out 'the happy' in people, and many lovely little conversations and exchanges were enjoyed. I had a mask on (having had Covid in July, I was not eager to contract it or pass it on again), but I made sure to smile big with my eyes and my greetings. People really do respond when you take an interest in them as individuals and not just customers exchanging money for goods. Their faces tend to light up and they respond with a little joke or a kind word. Sometimes the reverse would happen. I would be focusing on tallying up their purchases and they would say something positive about the festival and tell me to have a great day. I distinctly remember one man about my age, maybe a bit older, who had brought his two kids to the festival from Vancouver. While his teenage daughter said she would take the little brother back out to the fields after they finished their ice cream, the man said he would seek refuge in the shaded seating area outside of the store. He then told me he was two years into cancer treatment and had learned the hard way about the effect of sun on the skin. The skin cancer had gone into his lymph nodes and into his brain, but he was fighting it successfully so far. I told him my brother-in-law had the same cancer over twenty-five years ago, and I had reason to believe the treatments were more effective now. I truly wished him well, and his eyes told the story of the pain and anguish he was enduring. "I have to carry on for the kids," he said. The love expressed between him and his children was beautiful and I wished him well from the bottom of my heart once again. I hope he went home with some beautiful images of flowers in his head and some comfort and hope from our exchange.
I've noticed as I get older that life becomes more and more about essentials: communications between people, intention, a really good meal enjoyed with a loved one, a perfect piece of fruit, trees, flowers, gratitude for what this body can still do despite injuries, a sense of more to life than meets the eye. I've realized that despite my hermit tendencies of the last few years (post burnout recovery to be honest) I really do love people, and I love to be there for people. Not all the time. Sometimes people really frustrate me. I found myself reacting a few times, just last week, to just such persons testing my patience (I'm talking to you, speeding Toyota truck driver). Overall, though, I hope to provide 'soup and a soft landing' to the people in my life and appreciate when they do the same for me.
Although last night I made chili. Close enough.