Saturday, May 30, 2015

Local Saturday - Mindful Lesson of a Grancy Greybeard

It hurts.  It damages.  It kills.  Literally.

It's falling. Have you ever fallen?  If not, do you know someone who has? 

As my regular readers know, I am attending a falling prevention class.  Our teachers held class #2 on Wednesday, and one of the two facilitators brought up a topic I never would have expected in a class teaching falling prevention.  I expected there to be exercises, and there are four daily exercises and four additional exercises we are supposed to do three times a week.  I expected someone teaching us what to do if we fall, and, indeed, physical therapists came into the class to show us.  In this class, they even talked about canes, walking sticks, and walkers, and how to use them properly.

But I didn't expect a short talk about mindfulness.

Mindfulness.  It's such a simple concept when you are introduced to it, but hard to practice.  Yes, just taking time out to appreciate everything around us can help prevent falls.  It's taking the time to notice our surroundings.  Paying attention to what we are doing.  If we are outside, how does the air feel around us?  Do we hear birds singing?  What is blooming?  Is there a sidewalk crack in front of us?  Are we out walking the dog and about to place our ankle into a gopher hole?

The facilitator said that as she grows older (she is a retired RN) she becomes more mindful.  She said many elders do, and we must become mindful, too, if we are to survive into a healthy old age.

I am starting to practice mindfulness.  My thoughts tend to be scattered, hopping from one branch to another like a agitated finch.  Nothing happens as I churn and churn without purpose. Not only does that lack of mindfulness make me more prone to falling, but it stifles my creativity.

So, at lunch yesterday, I went out to the Broome County Courthouse.  There is a little area with benches where employees eat lunch, but I did something different.

I went up to a tree.  It had strange, fascinating white blooms that looked like angel hair pasta.
Fringe Tree, Chionanthus virginicus
I found out from a flower expert I know that many call this tree a Grancy Greybeard.  What a fascinating name!  Better yet, it is a native tree, just perfect for a Local Saturday.

The flowers smelled nice. I have some problems with smelling since a wisdom tooth extraction with complications last year, but I knew this one had a lovely fragrance.  I had never noticed this tree before. So, I stood there, feeling the breeze on my arms, listening to birdsong, and enjoying the warmth of the sun shining down on me.

Yes, even in the middle of urban Binghamton, New York, you can practice mindfulness. Thank you for the lesson, Grancy Greybeard.

Just coincidentally, that meshes with a challenge I am participating in this week, the Write Tribe Festival of Words #4.  Today we are challenged: " Today, pledge to be aware of every moment. Focus. Appreciate."

Let your creativity flow.


  1. Alana, maybe this is an area where writers and artists have a bit of an advantage. Or not. Either I am so intent on my surroundings that I try not to miss a thing, or my head is in the clouds and I don't see something in my path that I could walk right into. My nearly-80yo Mom told me the other day that as she gets older, she struggles with this very thing--tripping on the sidewalk crack, or other small impediment. She has fallen several times, and goes right over on her face! I'll try to remind her that mindfulness is so important. Thank you for this post.

  2. What a lovely post and thought provoking...

  3. Lots of traditions advocate for mindfulness. We should spend each day noticing everything around us. It's a good reminder.

  4. The pics are so lively and so is the post :) A lesson to learn here :)

  5. Oh, yes. I am mindful of where I place my feet. It took a fall at home to teach me to be careful though. But, I've always been sensible--maybe too much. I love to appreciate the moment when I go outside, feel the breeze, smell the roses and hear the birdsong, which is wonderful this late spring.

  6. Mindfulness is something I have been attempting to work on for years. For one whose mind is generally scattered, it is not always easy but so worthwhile. One becomes so much more present and appreciative in the moment. Good luck with your practice.

  7. I've been doing this without realizing it is mindfulness.

  8. Alana, such a lovely post. Being mindful and observing small things sometimes make all the difference, isn't it?
    Tina from The Sunny Side of Life


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