Slow I

I can hurry with
the best of them.
I’m easily impatient
waiting in lines
when I’m shopping.
I’m on the lookout
for ways to speed my trip when I drive.
I’ve never been nominated for any award
that is based on leisureliness,
on choosing to go slowly.
These days, however, I’m learning the value
of another way of proceeding.
When I walk with Dad,
he takes short, deliberate steps.
It’s all he can do.
When we eat together,
his arm moves in slow motion,
and so does his mouth.
So I’m learning to adjust my pace
so it’s suited to his.
When I shaved him the other day,
kneeling on the floor
while he sat in his comfortable chair,
we spent a third of an hour
close together, side by side.
The lather, the razor, the towels
all figured into our ritual.
So did our quiet conversing,
and my re-doing that cleft in his chin
four times in a row,
and my running my fingers across his cheek,
searching for any errant stragglers.
It felt peaceful to take our time.
It felt gratifying to rub his skin,
dry his neck, clean his glasses.
It felt like a grace to joke with him
while simultaneously admiring him.
And when we were all done
and he said his gentle “thank you,”
I was as glad as he was
that we had lingered through those moments.
Had I moved quickly and mechanically,
we would not have felt as connected.
Had he not allowed this unhurried intimacy,
we would have missed this opportunity
to be father and son
in yet another way.
I’m learning,
appreciatively and now even willingly,
that slowness carries its own blessing.

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