It was one of those spring days when the Pacific Northwest sky doesn’t get any bluer. Warm enough for shirtsleeves and perfect for a speeding bike ride—the kind nine-year-olds love to take, but Mom had a different plan. My great grandpa was visiting and he enjoyed taking walks. He was nearly blind, so I’d been commandeered into serving as his guide.
Wishing I could be pedaling away on my bike, I instead allowed Grampy to hold my hand while he held his cane in his other. Our snail’s pace gave me time to notice every spindly crack in the sidewalk. I watched his feet move. Step-shuffle, cane step, step-shuffle. But Grampy didn’t watch his feet he gazed at the well-manicured yards we were passing. His thick glasses made his eyes look so big, but his vision was nearly gone. He began asking me questions about each yard we slowly passed.
I didn’t know the name of any of the flowers, so he asked me to describe them. I began to learn about forsythia, roses, rhododendrons, lilacs, and tulips. He explained how the flowering shrubs would bloom in different months. I’d been by these yards hundreds of times, but had never seen them this way.
It was the slowest walk I ever took. Mom had warned me not to rush and cause Grampy to stumble. We walked around the block and I must have described every green plant and flower in sight. We rounded the corner and headed past the final two homes. I’d soon be free.
As we made our way up to the front door, Grampy took off his fedora and bowed down, “Thank you, my fair lady for accompanying me today. Maybe tomorrow we could go in the other direction to see what we could see.”
I smiled and gazed into his cloudy eyes. I guess taking really slow walks wasn’t so bad. Grampy’s tired, old eyes helped me see how much I’d been missing.
So with the coming of spring, I need to remember to slow down a bit and look for the beauty that I could so easily miss.