Be in the Moment

by Gordon C. Stewart, written five weeks ago in flight from Minneapolis to Los Angeles…before we learned that Kay’s ankle was broken.

Pay attention. Live in the moment. Don’t rush to be where you aren’t. Be right where you are.”

If, for instance, you’re on the stairs… well, watch your step!

This morning Kay and I rose early to catch a flight for a much-needed vacation on the coast of California. We’re excited about this trip, planned at the last moment in the aftermath of losing the dog companions who have been with us for all but the first month of our 14+ year marriage.

Lonely at home without Maggie and Sebastian, I called Kay last Thursday. “Let’s get out of here. The house is empty without them…but we now have freedom to travel. Let’s go somewhere fun.”

Fred, Kay’s colleague at work, said he knew just the place: Cambria, California, a four hour drive north of LA, one his favorite places on the California coast just south of Big Sur.

Within 24 hours we had booked the flights, found a beautiful home in Cambria through VRBO (“Vacation Rental by Owner”), and looked forward to flying out of Minnesota on Monday (today).

Yesterday, Susan Lince, a local artist who moved to Chaska two years ago after teaching Eskimo children in northern Alaska, led us through exercises to become more aware of the senses. Most important is being where you are….touching, tasting, smelling, hearing, seeing.

So…this morning…with Maggie and Sebastian gone, we packed our bags and headed downstairs to the garage.

I had gone first, packed most of the bags in the car, and was waiting for Kay. I assumed she had gone back to get something or to turn something off in the kitchen. I was wrong.

She had fallen down the steps – nine of them – carrying a suitcase I had missed. She came into my sight in the garage limping badly on the ankle that is severely sprained, at best, pulling the suitcase behind.

We iced the ankle and left home for the airport.

Right now we’re on Sun Country Airlines Flight 421 to Los Angeles. Kay has been treated royally since we arrived at the terminal. A wheelchair. Special privileges in getting through security without a line. A Sun Country Airlines attendant pushing her wheelchair and taking care of her needs while the husband who had forgotten the suitcase that contributed to her fall took care of his own bodily needs. The people at Gate 3 arranged for us to change seats so that Kay could have her own row of seats to keep her leg up during the flight.

So…Live in the moment. Touch, see, smell, hear, and taste where you are. And if you’re on your way to California, watch your step when you’re still in Minnesota. You could end up feeling the cold of an ice-pack on your ankle.