Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Effort

Out my window just now, I saw the neighbor from a block away, making her way up the block on the other side of my street. She is walking through all the snow and ice - treacherous right now, as it thaws in the day and freezes over at night. She does this walk every day, every day - even a day like today, where the walk way is icy.  I would not attempt it.  And certainly I would not try it if I had to use a walker.

I think she's had a stroke but it isn't my business, so I don't ask. I do wave to her whenever she goes by and  I am outside too. She waves back. Even though it takes her effort (as she must shift her weight to move her hand to take it from the walker to the air) - she waves back.

I had never seen her before a few months ago, when I started seeing her walk like this. I don't know if we've always been neighbors and she just never walked before (so I never saw her), or whether her stroke (or whatever it was) caused her to have to move from where she was living before. Maybe she lived somewhere with stairs, and she now needs a single level home. Maybe she had to move because she couldn't afford where she was anymore, due to her health. I don't know. I don't ask.

I told her once that she inspires me. She smiled, and said thanks, even as she was a bit out of breath. It is a slight incline to my house from hers. And she does live a whole block away. She didn't ask me what it was about her that was inspiring. It's pretty clear, after all. She has a walker and she's in the snow. And maybe she inspires herself. She should be proud, for all she's done - how she never gives up, no matter what.

Whatever it is that she has been through, there is one thing I've noticed: she seems to get stronger every day. Every day she walks and, as days go by, it seems as if she is moving just a little bit better - a little bit faster - a little bit more steadily.

There are times when I lament something in my life (this or that) that I stop myself and think: if she can make the effort, than certainly so can I. And so I do. She inspires.

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