A Moment for ‘Nimbility’

With post-its four deep on one side of the laptop and three deep on the other, in sitting for warmth under part of my rain-soaked coat but not under other part to stay dry, this seems a moment to pause and consider this word I made up rooted in that popular phrase in the workplace: ‘we must be nimble.’

Most of the time my associations with the word nimble are in conjunction with what it takes to live in my house. For years nimble meant stepping over those tiny legos designed, as many have said, to impale the tender underside of an adult foot rendering immediate pain. At my house you have to be nimble to stagger downstairs to go out with the dog at 5:30am or stagger up the attic stairs to feed the cat at 10:30pm. We have lots of old, angular furniture to steer around and you need to be nimble to avoid catching a hip or worse, a full limb. Outside, the marsh walks we take across meadow and stream or up to the top of the hill require steady footwork in the rain, but ‘nimbility’ when there’s ice.

The twist on all this during the week was that several non-physical moments required this trait. I think I was nimble to take the old milk jug to the rain barrel so that the latter got drained and the former, filled. When I ate the Hostess snowball at tea time yesterday, wasn’t it just a little nimble to think that from one angle it looked like a Stormtrooper? I tried a new recipe for “Breakfast Cookies” yesterday-lovely and delicious, and nimble, surely, to create a cookie that starts the day nutritiously? And just last week when I experimented making Mango Chicken Curry and found (of course) there was no curry in the house, I remembered: use the web! I made my own curry and yes, even with turmeric I found in the cabinet (that’s a shout out for the nimbility of my husband, don’t you know.)

When the tree cutters came yesterday and the dog couldn’t have run of the garden, I popped him into the van for a nearly unheard of mid-day walk, changing directions three times as various realizations arose (I lack treats, I’ll go to the pet store and buy some, he can’t make it that far… and so on.) I’d returned from walk #1 and found myself deep cleaning the back bedroom/laundry room–which I’d had no plans even to contemplate doing. I also made a moment on the return from walk #1 to swing by the car mechanic so I could return the shop shirt he’d left in the van last week. Nimble!

My hope for myself and for you, if you’d like, is that these next few but fully packed days will be fertile ground for the nimble work not only of literally packing (as we take Christmas on the road, or rather, through the skies) but also of letting go, slowing down, enjoying what gets done and not fretting over what doesn’t. The holidays and holy days are coming, and we need the nimbleness, (is that a better word?) of the Holy Family. Surely that will help us nimbly stretch our gaze past what is visible to include the wonders of the small and often the unseen.


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