The Encounter



      “what can I do for you my child? ”
        asked the old lady

    as the child placed her jump rope on the top step
    she looked up at the old lady and said
    “each day that i pass by 
      you are always here 
      sitting or rocking on this chair
     don’t you get tired
      of just being here?”  

  “my child,” answered the old lady
    “my legs are too weak to walk
      i sit here and travel the world
      i laugh and i cry
      sometimes  i giggle hard too
       other times i touch the suffering
      with a prayer and a warm heart 
       like a bird i float
       across the universe
       completely free”    

        the child looked puzzled
        she folded her hands
        in front of her and replied
        “i don’t mean to be rude
         but how can you do that
        if you sit still
         or rock slowly
       on this broken old rocking chair”    

        “dear child” answered the old lady
        “the places you can go
         with your mind and your heart
         are endless
         i watch you play
         run jump skip
         fly up and down
        on your swing
        you smile laugh and giggle
          ever so hard
        what you do with your body
        i now do with my mind”  

        the child was quiet for a moment
         then answered
         “don’t you wish you can  walk
          jump and play like me again”
         the old lady cleared her throat
        “my child sitting here
         i never am still
          i dance the dance of life”    

          the child’s face began to sparkle
         “you mean
         you play fantasy
        like i do sometimes
        when i am in my room
         by myself”    

          the old lady smiled
          “yes my child i play fantasy
          everyone has a special place
          deep in their heart
          to create to believe to feel free”    

         so answered the child
         with a look of wonder
        “will i be like you
         when i get  old
          will i sit quietly like you
         dancing in my head”
         “you will find your own way
         my little one” answered the old lady    

          the child walked over to the table
         next to the rocking chair
         with a look of amazement
         “what are all these pieces of scrapes doing here”  

        “these are my treasures”
         answered the old lady
        “each one holds a special meaning
         a place i visited
         a lesson learned
        maybe a happy time
         maybe a sad”      

          the child’s eyes glowed
          “i know like my stuffed animals
          when i hug Arthur
           i remember my mom
          sometimes it is sad
         so i cry a lot
        she is no longer here
         but when i hold Theodore
         he makes me laugh
         and giggle
         and feel happy inside  

         “yes dear child
         your stuffed animals
        are your treasures
        each with a special meaning  

         the child picked up
         one of the patterns
         touched it softly
         with her hand
        and gave it to the old lady
        “can you tell me
        about this one
        with so many
         colors and designs”

         “oh dear child
         you picked my favorite one
        this is a piece of my daughter’s blanket
        when she was just a baby
         it was the only piece left
        she used to carry everywhere”    

          the child’s eyes sparkled
         “i had a favorite blanket too
          i never let it go
          until one day it was lost”  

           “dear child” answered the old lady
            “nothing is ever lost
            you keep it tucked away
           in your memory
           close to your heart
             it is who we are
            what we become”      

            the child took the piece of quilt
            and put it back on the table
          “i have to go now
            but can i come back
          tomorrow maybe
           and visit with you again”    

              the lady smiled and said
              “of course my child
              if you like you can bring
             some of your stuffed animals
             so we can share stories”    

             i will “ said the child
            she picked up her jump rope
           and smiling from ear to ear 
             said “see you tomorrow”    

            the old lady waved
           smiled gently and replied
           “yes my child see you tomorrow”

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