It’s not every day you get to see this.
Even when the weather’s a fine spring evening perfect for … well, I get ahead of myself.
Setting; A sidewalk in downtown Prescott. A block south of the real heart of Whiskey Row.
I go to my car to retrieve my laptop to blog at the alehouse. Two adults stand on the quiet sidewalk conversing.
Meanwhile, nearby, gray legs spin around the hub of a hot-pink and brown-striped T-shirt. A girl approximately 8 spinning cartwheels up and down a narrow stretch of sidewalk while the grown-ups — yawn — talk.
Shoots off cartwheels of an amateur one after another without pause, scolding or a care. No budding Nadia Comaneci from my observation, true. But no parental reprimands, glares or punishments either..
She’s just a girl in gray leggings and a pink-and-brown striped T-shift spinning cartwheels to pass the time while the grown-ups talk — boooooooring!
I see the young girl in me and I in her.
My natural gymnast who tumbled at community center classes, in gym classes along with balance beam and horse routines. All innate. Free of force of parental dictates or internal demands.
It’s who I was. And would be again at that age.
“Chicken legs” the teacher called me.
‘Tis true yet perfect legs they were for on this short petite frame designed to move, tumble, spin, climb, above all else MOBILITY. Oh how I’d climb trees to their VERY top, monkey bars, spin on playground equipment — before allowing schoolkids to do so became a LITIGIOUS risk from inane parents complaining their little Johnny suffered a bruised knee AND IT’S THE SCHOOl’S FAULT and next thing you know, litigious I mean greedy parents have been awarded a million bucks for their “suffering” their bruised-up kid got on the school playground.
My childhood “monkey” nickname — back to happier themes — was well deserved!
That girl in the gray leggings and striped shirt who cartwheeled so effortlessly and comfortably is a delight to witness. Especially on this side of life — at 60, nearer to death than arrival.
I remembered the extreme flexibility of my youth. Think Gumby. My natural athleticism, which btw is still in pretty damn good shape for my age!
While I don’t have the remarkable limberness and flexibility of that girl on the sidewalk, I’m no rigid immobile pile of bones. Not yet.
(And if that day ever comes, give me a shot of morphine and set me free.)
This Perfect Moment reveals:
I see life as a 60-year-old woman, closer to death than birth. And my body concurs.
Yet in that girl, I saw myself, young, vibrant, spinning cartwheels with abandon — anywhere.
I can’t go back to childhood. I can only remember what was. Who I was.
I miss her. The young spirited full-of-life TRUSTING-in-life BELIEVING-in-self girl.
In today’s moment, in that spirit of mortality that is each of us, I smile remembering my youthful elastic-y vibrancy — a cartwheeling girl without a care.