I watched her fold her laundry. She did it with slow intent, present with every motion. I watched and I watched, falling in love with this slow beautiful rhythm as each piece of laundry was smoothed, caressed and folded. It was a poetry I had never seen before.
I knew this woman but I had not always had the kindest thoughts towards her. She teaches line dancing and she never seemed to be quite on the beat or rhythm, always moving slower than the music. Such a challenge! But eventually the class would find some beat to the music that we could all connect to and by the middle of the song we would all be in synch.
You see, she has Parkinson's, a condition which affects the motor system with one of the symptoms being slow movement. Some of her days are better than others and on a really bad day she will step aside and allow her husband to lead the class. Her rhythm will be too slow for the faster pace of the music. But she will watch and step in to help the beginners in the class, slowly going through each step until it is mastered.
There is a different ease to this dis-ease, a presence few of us master in our more fast paced lives. My aunt also has Parkinson's and I wonder if they are here on this earth to specifically show us how to slow down, to slow down our conversations, to slow our actions, to be present in each and every moment. And to even be more present as we fold our laundry.