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Monday, October 24, 2011

Yoga Hawk

I smeared my apple---picked from our east wilds, some long forgotten orchard now hidden amidst cherries and tangles of gray dogwood---with creamy peanut butter, fresh from the Bluff Country Coop.  “A successful shopping trip,” I smiled at Linda, seated next to me in our cabin’s “patio”, the old wood shed.  Indeed, we’d pretty much found everything we wanted at Fleet Farm:  telescoping apple-picker to snare those high and wild fruits, cedar posts to support our Humanure Hacienda, 30 reflective stakes to guide you down our 1500 foot driveway some winter eve. 
 Linda took another sip of her steaming Roibus tea.  Ahhh!  We were savoring the last of the year’s warmth.  Yet, as we gazed west across the stubble of recently harvested corn, precious day was already slipping away from us.  And somewhere, not far beyond the veiled sun, we could already feel winter peeking over the shoulders of the clouds.
 “So, what should we do now?” she asked me.
I shrugged.  Sometimes, when life is going so well, I intentionally delay.  As if, somehow, I could forever wrap myself in the moment: my apple, her tea, the warm blanket of gathering October clouds. 
“How about Yoga?”  she prodded.  We’ve tried online YogaGlo a few times in our little cabin.  Now lower your leg all the way to the right.  Hers lands on my belly.  Mine is stopped, pretty much vertical, by the bed.  Now, at the wall, kick up into a handstand.  What wall?  They’re all consumed by our “stuff”. 
Linda must have perceived my resistance.  “How about outside?” she offers. 
Something triggers in me.   “How about at the house?  Up in the Yoga loft?  I’ll sweep up the sawdust.”  The Yoga loft:  the name appeared on the first drawing Architect Paul ever showed us of our one and only upstairs room.  I wasn’t even doing Yoga then.  Now, thank to Linda’s prodding, my wonderful teacher Monica, and Ali, our Yoga grandmother, it’s part of me, physically and spiritually.  
“There’s still no walls.”  She was right.  I was imagining handstand, a pose right at the limit of my yogability.  Sometimes, I even get up.  Now I pictured kicking up in the under-construction Yoga loft, banging my heels on a stud, or missing the studs altogether and toppling into a pile of sharp tin.
Linda---perceiving perhaps the ebb and flow of my enthusiasm---pounced .  “How about the east porch?”
“Genius!”   In minutes, we’d stuffed the Prius with Yoga mats, laptop, phones (for mobile hotspot), warm clothes and blankets, camera and wine (hoping for a celebration of success).  Down the cabin’s steep driveway, up Calico Hill Rd then down our long driveway, our home’s new roof just peeking over the ridge as we approached it.   Amidst pallets of steel roofing, we unloaded, after a good sweeping of the east porch. 
Ahhh! The east porch.   That grandest of views, now covered and protected from the northwest winds and darkening clouds.   And there, cross-legged before us, sat Noah Maze, our tiny digital Yoga instructor shining out atop a cooler, asking us to sing our Anusara invocation, the beginning of a level 1:2 class culminating in handstand.  Yes, handstand.  The east porch has one wall of unfinished OSB. 
As Noah gently builds toward our handstand climax, all goes well.  Lots of down dog, plank, arm-strengthening, shoulders-on-the-back, kind of stuff.   Then, just as we’re about to get serious, Noah is replaced by the swirling arrow of death.  The dreaded “rebuffer”.   Dark clouds roll by to the south.  Bare feet go chill. 
“Ok, you lead us!” I say to Linda.
And, after mumbling something about waiting for Noah and there’s really nothing to do, she guides us, wonderfully.   Shoulder stretch.  Shower pose.  L-pose.  Then, finally, we’re ready to try it.  Handstand.  Not only first Yoga class in our new home, but handstand.  We take turns.
Linda goes first.  Begin with table pose:  hands and knees.  Melt the shoulder blades into the heart (ho my gosh she’s so gorgeously strong)  Knees up.  Walk the feet toward the hands until bent like sawhorse legs.  Then, finally, the kick.  She tries so hard.  Kick after exhausting kick, but her arthritic hips just aren’t going to spread her legs apart enough.  I spot her.  Up she goes: a thing of beauty, so straight, balanced inches from the wall.
My turn.  I’m tired.  And scared.  As always.  Maybe more than always.   Table pose.  Melted heart.  Knees up.  My feet walk toward my head.  “What’s that?”  Upside-down, I’m gazing east between my legs.  And there, just over the tips of the tall grass, soars hawk.  He swirls, dives and just where he disappears over the ridge, lightning.  One bolt, sudden and silent. 
I kick.  I’m up.   In the past, I’ve done pigeon pose.  Crow.  Even eagle.  And now, for the first time, Yoga hawk.  Not the pose, mere handstand, but the action:  prairie root to rise.  My hands, rooted into the mat, draw energy up from the Land itself.  And I rise.  I soar. 
Upside-down, heels against the OSB wall, I gaze between my shaking arms.  Past green grass.  Past golden aspens.  Past dark clouds.  To my new life.  It’s here!  I’m engaging.  It’s already here! 

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