Freda .. Between Thee and Me and The Gatepost

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Freda and direction

 

“How are you this week Freda?”

“I’m feeling my age”.

“How is that affecting you just now?”

“I am slow and out of breath”

We talk a bit about the necessity of prioritising the things that matter and letting go of the things that are less important. 

Of the outer physical form and how this changes and yet somehow the unchanging inner  being becomes ever more distilled.

“You are like a siphon.. Essence of Freda!”

We laugh

“Well we’ll aim to extract undue effort and see if we can simplify things….. Have things a little easier”

I talk a bit about spirals. 

The image of a whisper of smoke from a smouldering pile of leaves on a November afternoon. 

Sitting away from the back of the chair I ask Freda to “draw ” the tiniest of spirals with her tail bone.

And then with an imaginary paint brush as though it is extending away from her crown to the ceiling. 

How it only takes a tiny circle at the base of the spine to create quite a large circle on the ceiling.

I now sit as I often do on a low stool in front of her, cradling first one and then the other leg in my lap and make little spiral possibilities in her oedematous toes, her forefoot, ankle…. the thought of a spiralling connection through the leg to pelvis and thence to the spine, aiming for the base of the skull where it nestles in its shallow rockers of the first vertebra. 

We do a little work standing.

Thinking of the connection of the feet with the ground.

Practising aspects of balance by asking her to delicately shift weight in turn to the front, sides and back of her feet… a small circle.

Back to the image of a paintbrush.

How is that?”

“Messy! Paint dripping everywhere!”

“Oh I forgot to mention…. sorry. It’s ok, it’s non drip”

With the thought of following the rainbow arc of her paintbrush, Freda sits with a smoothness that astonishes me. 

After a little more work it is time to rise. 

“I never know whether to use my hands or not. These days I take it for granted that I will, but I wonder what would happen if I didn’t”

I say that the fear of falling is likely to be more disruptive to her coordination than allowing the reassurance of having her hands available. That they are there if she needs them, but that they may not have to do much.

That just being aware that there is choice is a great way to be fresh in her thinking and to keep asking questions.

“I’m so lucky to be able to ask questions like this at ninety nine”

“I would rather have an agile mind and a less agile body than vice versa”.

I hope I mean this.

“You have made the right choice” she says without hesitation.

It takes a very long time, but finally Freda rises like a feather. Her hands barely touch the stool.

“This is a very effective direction for you”

“Yes it works very well”

Her thinking may have slowed, but it is evidently still so clear. 

We stand together for a moment in the sunshine at her front door and she grimaces at the view. 

“I hate it!” 

The newly revamped neighbour’s front garden now has a padlocked gate and black railings surrounding a formal courtyard. 

“I’m sorry” she says with a mischievous shrug. 

We have a conspiratorial farewell cuddle. 

“Between thee and me and the gatepost”!