small things

August 6, 2019


Today I woke up and could finally go for a walk after a week of being housebound. I injured my back recently (by apparently doing nothing, which is surely a sign of getting old), and haven’t been able to move around easily for days. But this morning my back was showing signs of returning to normal, and I happily donned my exercise clothes to take an early morning walk.

Taking a walk in Mexico is always full of interesting sights and sounds ~ one’s senses are filled to the brim with color, life, and warmth. I had decided today that I would purchase some roses from an elderly man I’ve passed numerous times before. He sits every morning on the curb next to a table laden with piles of roses in all different colors ~ red, yellow, pink, and white. He is slightly hunched over, a woman beside him, perhaps his wife or a family member, and greets passersby with a smile.

After making my rounds to the local produce store and panadería, I approach his stand with a “buenos días” and ask how much for a dozen roses. “Cincuenta” he tells me, and as I fumble through my change, I realize I don’t have quite enough and ask for siete instead. “Claro” he says, as he stands up slowly and begins to select seven roses one by one, carefully placing them together with some strands of baby’s breath. His gnarled and arthritic hands slip them into a plastic sleeve, and then he cuts a piece of red ribbon haltingly, tying everything together.

“Aquí tiene,” he says, as he hands them to me with care, “muchisimas gracias.” I thank him in return and wish him a good day as I set off towards home.

My soul feels full as I walk up the street, and I realize that this interaction has deposited a wealth of abundance within me. I feel gratitude for him, for the exchange, and for the awareness that the essence of life really does get boiled down to the simplest of acts. In them, we find some of the greatest gifts.

As I approach my casa, I have the thought that I would like to buy roses from him every week. It is the small things that shift our perspective on life and never fail to place what looms large in proper perspective. For this, I am thankful.

4 comments on “small things”

  1. Hola, Karen;
    Gracias for your hermoso historia. Young e yo are inclinado Spanish. hahaha !!!
    It takes too much time to write in Spanish yet. We just started leaning uno dos ....

    I hope your back problem is nothing serious. I am curious and a little nervous about you like living there too much to return to America.
    I enjoy reading about what you are doing and how things are going there with your work and your personal life there. We are glad that David is coming and will stay at hour place soon even for just a few days. Stay healthy and happy and I hope to see you too someday soon.
    Love, Katy

    1. Thanks Katy! Happy you've been able to read some of the observations about culture and life here!

  2. That's a very sweet story, Karen. In the States, they probably would not count the seven roses out for you fi you could not take the whole dozen. But this lovely man did. I hope your back is fully recovered!!

    See you soon,

    1. Thanks Susan! Just seeing this now, ha. 🙂 Yes, this man was so kind. One of the reasons I love living here!

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