Personalities and relationships change with age. Latent qualities rise to the surface, rough edges become smooth—or are sharpened. The grammar of our intercourse changes in word and gesture, in our dedication of time. It is not just those we care for who change. We change too. In this poignant description of caring for her aging mother, bell hooks speaks of “new rituals of regard.” Regard is a curious word. It means to watch, to view, to behold—not passively or dispassionately, but with some lingering sense of awe or wonder. The etymology of regard has connotations too of guarding, of holding protectively. To hold protectively something or someone in an attitude of wonder is a delicate and precious act. For bell hooks, the experience provokes a sense of gratitude which prepares the ground of our being for love. Whom do you truly regard? What are the rituals by which you do so? Prepare the ground of your being and thus experience daily and directly the diverse array of gifts that offer themselves to you.
Todd Breyfogle, Denver, Colorado