Have you ever seen a plant, wilted by the sun, restore itself after a drink of water and a bit of shade. Have you seen it come back to life, lift up its arms and celebrate just being? Have you? I have. And I saw something similar yesterday.
I went for a haircut. I pulled in to place beside an elderly woman who sat collapsed in the barber chair next to me. Her walker was folded and leaned against the wall beside her. The stylist was a young man, clean shaven but with a blue hue on a strong jaw. His hands moved quickly and efficiently as he cut and brushed her hair.
The woman I go to is great with sissors but poor with English. She sometimes wants to practice with me, sometimes she seems tired of the struggle. Today she smiled but did not talk. That's ok with me. I like quiet too. In that quiet I notice the woman next to me. It was coming close to the end of the haircut. But the stylist stopped, looked finished but then said, 'I think there are a couple of hairs here,' pointing to the bangs hanging on her forehead, 'that need trimmed.' His finger brushed against her skin, once, maybe twice, as he indicated where the trim was necessary, then she nodded agreement.
He trimmed there and there, as he said, 'That looks better'. Then he asked about how the hair felt over her ears, while doing so he held his comb pointing out while his fingers traced the cut over the ears. She said that the hair felt good as it lay. He shook his head and said, 'Let me try this,' and clipped something almost invisible away. She grinned as she looked at the result and said, 'Oh yes, that does feel better.'
As he put the finishing touches on the experience, not the hair cut, she drank as if from water, she sat as if in shade. Little, tiny, acts of kindess, acts of attention, acts of humanity, made so much difference to her. He knew he could safely give her these gifts, she readily recieved them.
She left the salon walking easily with her walker. He said to the woman cutting my hair, 'She always walks better after a haircut.'
Mine nodded, smiling.