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The Ice Age Retreats

March 14, 2011

Spring is coming in fits and starts, dipping a toe into town, retreating, repeating.  It has thawed sufficiently that all the derelict dog owners’ transgressions are apparent on every lawn (and sometimes sidewalk) in the neighborhood.  Because it’s so very muddy, and because half the mud is not mud due to said transgressions, I tend to spend the winterspring season walking with my head down, my attention laser-focused on my next step.  “Power of Now” be damned, when you move from living in the moment to living in the nanosecond, you miss everything worth seeing.

Yesterday afternoon I actually drove through the neighborhood, and in the daylight, no less, during which time I realized everything I’d been missing these past couple of weeks since the thaws began: a hot mess.  Out of nowhere, great chasms of pothole have opened up in every street as if this winter’s ice were the only thing standing between my town and Hades.  In other spots, the road wells up unexpectedly, which I assume means an alien creature is gearing up to burst forth from the pavement.  The melting of great piles of heavy, wet, salt-laden snow has left in its wake the predictable quagmire of mud and not-mud, interspersed with trash and gravel, and perhaps great chunks of missing pavement from those pot(sink)holes.

In elementary school, we learned that during the last ice age, our area of the state was covered in a glacier.  That glacier’s rather hasty retreat dragged away hilltops, churning up rock and soil, and leaving behind rolling hills, fertile soil, and of course, the Finger Lakes.  The glacier of 2010/11 churned up soda bottles and grocery bags and the contents of recycling bins caught in a season’s wind storms, leaving behind one filthy and depressing town.

I know I need only be patient, that in a few weeks, the city will cover herself in grass and flowers, that by summer, I’ll love her again.  But damn, girl, you look like hell right about now!

Practice Notes

I practiced in the Great Grey North yesterday, a feat that never ceases to amaze border control. It was a good practice, maybe not a great one.  It’s so ungodly hot in this particular shala that I barely even know my own practice.  On the up side, my muscles and joints are completely compliant – they don’t complain about any level of contortion.  On the down side, I tire easily in the heat and have to abandon any hope of a floaty practice.  A slippery one, sure – that I can muster – but the closest I get to “floating” is hydroplaning across my mat. On the way down side, my everything aches today, partly because the heat allowed me to push myself way further than usual, and partly because I do stupid things in the presence of the person I most consider to be My Teacher.  Stupid things like binding in all my twists, which Dr Backcracker, DC has explicitly ordered me not to do.

Predictably, my back is a wreck in all the old familiar ways again.  I’ve definitely aggravated the formerly (I hope it’s still former!) injured part, and I can feel that one lumbar vertebra sticking out like a sore vertebra.  It’s not nearly as tender as it was last fall when the spine originally hit the fan, so I guess I’ve made some progress.  It’s good to know the past 6 months’ of restricted practice weren’t a total waste of time.  My dropbacks were almost effortless, even though by then I was a bit dizzy and hypotensive.  In fact, they were almost unassisted, and garnered a rare compliment.  This makes me wonder why I can’t do them on my own yet?  Or perhaps the better questions is why don’t I?  I think the heat helped me hang back lower than normal, so the “drop” part wasn’t so droppy.  But even standing back up was easier – maybe because my hands were closer to my feet?  Who knows?  All I know is that as much as I love my morning home practice (and I really am being much better about making it an honest practice), I wish I still had 4- or 5- or 6-day a week access to a Mysore room. In the few months when I did, my practice opened up like a new-formed March pothole in a Western New York street; quickly and in previously unimaginable ways.

(Sigh)

But I guess you make the best of what you have.

When I sat up after savasana yesterday, this immense wave of gratitude washed over me.  I am not an innately positive person, by any stretch, so I was taken aback by how fully and totally grateful I felt.  Grateful to have found yoga, grateful to have a wonderfully warm studio near home, grateful to have the opportunity to occasionally study with a world-class teacher, grateful to have a bit of disposable income to make driving to another country for a yoga class not seem ridiculous (despite what border control might think), grateful to have a wonderful boyfriend who, unlike border control, gives me no crap about spending the better part of a day driving so I can exercise for 90 minutes.  I hope I can recapture that feeling at some point today as I embark upon another work week… I liked feeling like maybe I might be leading a charmed life after all.

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