12 January, 2009

a compassionate palm

First day of classes. Still a bit surreal. It's so strange to be here again, to be waiting to cross Raleigh St. at the same place, to walk past the Union, cut through the Pit, sit in class. Last semester of my junior year. Somehow I never imagined myself actually living through this; the kind of time of your life that you never actually imagine is coming; for some reason I thought I'd just be in the state of mind of the eternal freshman.

On Saturday morning, I took an hour-long intermediate yoga class with Grace at the Y. Even though I was the second-worst participant, it was an inspiring hour and I felt very motivated to become at least marginally good at this bending and stretching and rhythmic posing thing. (I even brought a mat back with me.) Watching Grace is just inspiring, too; she's unbelievably good; her body is so toned and perfectly harmonized. I hope she does get her instructor's license soon.

At the end of the hour, when my muscles had started to quiet down, we laid on our backs in the savasana pose, palms facing up. (The most unbelievably calming feeling washes over you after an hour of contorting the body in unnatural shapes.) And so I lay there, eyes shut, for a good five minutes. The instructor was walking softly around our heads. She came over to me and crouched down beside me. My eyes were still closed. She put her hand over mine and I was surprised at how warm it was and for almost a full minute, she just pressed my palm into the floor. It was oddly reassuring. I feel like it was her expression of compassion for me, the second-worst yoga student in the room.

I like meeting someone's eyes and being able to laugh without having to say a word, because you both already know that you're thinking the same thing.

"There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories." -- Ursula K. Le Guin

Still enjoying The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I think it would be a great and fun exercise to try to write in Kundera's style. I like the way he moves between characters and refuses to give you conventional answers.

I read some verses in Deuteronomy 6 this morning. With Moses as his mouthpiece, God told the Israelites to remember one thing. Once they settled in Canaan, the land that oozed milk and honey, had children and grandchildren, harvested grapes, made new wine, lapped up the fountain of prosperity, they just needed to remember one thing: to be careful not to forget the Lord.

I can't think of a food more divine than fresh raspberries. I love how they gather water in the center and bleed on your fingers. I could eat them all day long.

One of my favorite devices that Kundera's been using in the "Words Misunderstood" chapters is the running list, A Short Dictionary of Misunderstood Words. He picks a simple word or concept, such as "parades" or "strength" or "the old church in Amsterdam," and then talks about how Sabina and Franz don't agree on what those words mean. It's such a terribly clever way to breathe life into a character. I wish I had thought of it first.

No comments: