Really it was a picture perfect, blue sky above, day. Hot, but in that dreamy summer kind of way with a slight breeze coming off the coast. I was headed towards a refreshing swim in the beckoning saltwater when I first saw her. She appeared to be about 65, with a trim figure and wispy, gray hair. She looked hot, wearing a long-sleeved shirt pulled over mid-length, khaki pants, and sporting tennis shoes. A cane was in her right hand, but she seemed almost not to need it. As I strode past her I noted that she stopped at the end of the boardwalk, gazed out towards the waves, then turned around and walked back.
About half an hour later, as I was leaving, I noticed that she was still pacing, so I stopped to talk to her. She said that she’d had a stroke and was getting her ‘sealegs’ again. I offered to help her walk the few yards to the water where she could at least cool off her feet. “Oh, no,” she said. “That is much too far.” When I mentioned that she had already walked much further than that during her back and forth pacing, she said, “Well, it isn’t the distance, really. It’s my ugly feet. I have very short toes, you know. It’s hereditary. My mother had ugly feet.” I told her that no one on the beach would care one whit about what her toes looked like, or likely even notice them. “Besides, just imagine how good that cool water will feel.” For a moment she seemed almost tempted, but no. “I really can’t walk on the sand,” she continued. “Because one of my legs is higher than the other.” Still, I was persistent. “Well. You can walk out with me supporting you. I’ll help you take off your shoes and we can walk a bit together in the cool water.” Finally she paused and said, “That would be nice, dear. But maybe another day. Today is just not a good day.”
And as I left her, it occurred to me how we all make excuses for NOT doing things. After years, we get better and better at making them until finally those excuses simply become a part of who we are. Well, today may not be a ‘good’ day, but tomorrow may be your last one. Don’t make excuses. Plan adventures! (Hudson is the author of, “Kissing Tomatoes.” http://www.helen-hudson.com.) P. S. Later, I also realize that she is about Carole King’s age, who is on a world tour right now with James Taylor. Now THAT is an adventure!