Once Upon a Time

Thoughts on a cold snowy day

Winter sets in and nature and, perhaps,  my senses also go into hibernation. It is the moment of “once upon a time,” hoping that that time will soon return when the first crocuses brave the cold and the hazel bushes are draped in their catskins.

Once upon a time, when I could hear better, I had music playing all day long.

Once upon a time, when I didn’t suffer from the aftereffects of a fall, I baked and chopped and made a fire in the fireplace to keep me warm and on which to grill sausages for supper.

Once upon a time, I drew and painted and wrote every day (now I seem to wait in vain for inspiration).

Once upon a time, I ran and took long walks along the country roads.

Once upon a time, I danced, now forgotten. What remains is a memory of over seventy years ago in Mexico when I danced with a toreador, who walked me home and asked for no more than a kiss.

Once upon a time, I could climb a ladder to clean the shelves up high (now forbidden me by my sons).

Once upon a time, I could bend down to weed and touch my toes.

Once upon a time, I could shower by myself and needed no one to help me.

So many “once upon a times,” yet there are still others lurking under the snows of old age that have not yet surfaced but know their time will come.

But so far

even if the step is high, I can still get on a bus.

I need no help in tying my shoelaces when putting on my shoes and walking to the pharmacy or newstand.

Cane in hand, I can take my dog for her daily strolls.

My eyes have so far not given up, not been retired,

and I can still use my computer, write and read.

While words do sometimes go into hiding, I know that given time they  will surface.

All the books I have read, the paintings I have seen and loved, still dwell in the museum of my mind, to be conjured up when I so desire.

When my alarm goes off signalling it’s time to take my daily pill, it’s already there and waiting in the miniature Japanese dish.

What I did yesterday, my appointments for today, don’t yet require reminders on my agenda, although an occasional nudge does no harm.

The present is the here and now, as well as tied to the past.

What mattered to me yesterday, continues to be relevant.

Then as today my friends and loved ones offer their support in times of need.

And, of course, there are my memories, of people, happenings, that span the decades at this point, to be drawn on in making other memories.

A life hopefully well lived, a life for which to be grateful. As Oliver Sacks says “I have loved and been loved. I have been given much and I have given something in return.” Yes, I too have had, as he says, the privilege and adventure of being a sentient being on this beautiful planet, hoping that I can still “give something in return.”

6 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time

  1. This is a rich, wise, and beautiful piece, Erika. I also love the photographs and would like to hear more about them. As for the memories that you cite here, not everyone can say she danced with a toreador. Or can come up with an elegant phrase that refers to what still dwells in the museum of her mind.

    As for the priceless words from Oliver Sacks on gratitude, I’m grateful that we got to discover them together when we watched the wonderful documentary of this extraordinary gentleman near the end of his life. His comforting words remain etched in my heart and brain. And by coincidence (or because you have ESP?), just this morning our mutual friend Susan and I had been discussing what Sacks’ thoughts mean to us. Then your post arrived.

    Btw, today I tried brushing my teeth with my left hand and ended up wondering how you ever managed to do that, and more. Avanti!


  2. Thank you, dearest Erika, for such a lovely post;filled with such graceful wisdom. Thank you for all the beauty you embody, exude, and entertain. I love and miss you and share your anticipation for crocus and other hopeful signs of spring.


  3. “ As Oliver Sacks says “I have loved and been loved. I have been given much and I have given something in return.” “
    What a marvellously sane perspective. I had not come across this quotation so I’m very glad to have learnt of it.
    I’ve been away from WordPress for a few days and am belatedly catching up. One of the benefits for me is that I have also enjoyed reading the comments from others, and so I see that your friend Diane knows these words very well. I’m afraid I have little knowledge of Sachs and have just been reading about him online. I’ve a lotta catchin up to do. Obviously a remarkable person.
    As you are Erika.


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