Saturday, July 12, 2008

And now, for something completely different...

Okay, okay, so I'm a bit harsh on my Dad's side of the family. It's okay, this is a blog- my blog, in fact, where I get to exercise free speech and the like to my little heart's content. It's an opinion, dear ones, not fact.

So, here is an utterly self-indulgent piece I wrote a few days ago, pre-triathlon. (Chip and I just completed a triathlon this morning).


This weekend another race will impose itself upon my body, only this time I am ready. And it's been a bittersweet discovery, these past 2 months, unearthing a hidden resolve, long obscured by books and obligations, uncertainty and the denial offered by distance of every description.

I no longer dread exertion, no longer find myself longing to taper or terminate. In the cemetery, I learn the true origin of the term "cutting corners", as the lacy weave-work of paths makes it possible to do exactly that at any given moment. There is a turning point, where the body craves addition rather than subtraction, begins to endure more, and for longer--for its own reward.

I'm sanguine in this half-light, flexing beneath the waning light in the sky, urged on like any whip-worn beast bearing the weight of a chariot. There is pride in the bearing of any burden. Everyone secretly knows this.

Night encroaches, cracking a whip composed of thunder and lightning on the fringe of the sky, and although I know I should head in, instead I take another loop composed of several miles, as the light drains away, leaving the contrast of the tombstones against the shaded slopes as my only company.

Soon, I'm alone behind the locked cemetery gates, darkness clinging to everything, lighting pulsating and thunder growling, and I find myself swimming through a luminous soup of heavy air ripe with rain, illuminated by an army of fireflies. And it is not scary here in the graveyard, not eerie or unsettling. It's just delicious.

Lately, I find myself on a difficult to define level with the earth, while moving alongside it I am aware of something new and intrepid: as I move forward, whether running, or swimming, or cycling...

I've discovered that I have terrible technique in 2 out of 3 disciplines, and I am having to re-learn the way. There is a childishness in this discovery of familiar motion made strange, and it is not discouraging, but rather inspiring.

I am playing tug-of-war with the ground beneath my wheels or feet, and every advance feels as though I am gripping at some invisible rope, clicking my tongue and muttering, "C'mere!" as I tug at it, pulling it away and under and beyond myself.

It is like anything else, these small advances. Like learning a new language, where at first all the gobbledygook runs together: a puzzle, a mystery, heavy-laden with intrigue. Then the pieces begin to form, small keys to the puzzle, piecemeal. And then, one day, sentences form. And much to your surprise, the mystery is solved, and is made shockingly mundane. There is no arcana, no unraveling of secret volumes of lore. No. Instead, it is all, "I saw your sister at the store, and she told me you were looking for a job." or "No, I cannot go on Friday, because I have to work on Saturday early in the morning."

And all this intrigue filtered into mundane reality should be discouraging, but it is not.

Instead, it is a grand opening of filters, as if the world parted her curtains for a moment and said, "You there, come here and see, that all of the world comes bearing sweat, and tears that are salty, smiles that curve into upturned crescents, and hopes for tomorrow...Just. Like. You. Do."

What you do with this is yours. But for me, my feet just keep time, pulling the earth toward me in turn, murmuring, "C'mere!" to the intermittent gravel and slender blades of grass. The thread of existence, in this case, as thick as a rope, sliding between my fingers, pulling along each inch, each foot, each mile one knotted length at a time, like prayer-beads on a rosary- it ties me to something neither here nor there, but gracefully slung in between.

Here everything is new, every moment an uncovered artifact to be discovered, only to fall behind into the backlog of experience. To be perhaps unearthed another day, shining with the promise of mystery and intrigue.

I cannot complain, as every day sheds its skin and invites me to discover it again the next, like the mirror exposing a new face with every encounter.

Life, I love you. You can never push me away.

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