Atmospheric Instability

October 9, 2007

It is October and usually by now, my garden is wilting from an early killing frost. The forecast high for today is 96 degrees F. Unseasonably warm. As I work at the computer today, I am vaguely aware that the relentless sunshine of the last several weeks is dimming. Lucy girl dog is anxious and panting. I think she wants to “dog, go, walkie in the park.” Instead she is alerting me, something is changing.

I struggle on with my computer work, make some phone calls, do some chores (to avoid the computer work) and then go downstairs to treat myself to a cup of perfect coffee and a small piece of chocolate. I glance outside and it is raining.

Yes! Yes! Yes! Rain! Rain! Rain!

The last few weeks I have been the “senior project” for a student at the university. He is a young man, all lean and taut, hopeful and energetic, a winner of triathalons. I am an older woman, soft and loose, deep and thoughtful, a creator of sacred hearths and wisdom circles. Together we are discovering what it takes to get me moving more comfortably in my body.

He doesn’t laugh at me when it takes me 21 minutes to run 1.5 miles because I can only run 100 meters and then walk 200 meters. I cross the finish line and he says “good job!” and I believe him. When we began spending time together, we both imagined crisp cool autumn walks – not 90+ days with sweat streaming from our eyes. He asks me if I heard about the Chicago  marathon – the heat that killed. I am thankful that I am not driven to push my body to compete in that way. Yet, I realize that I pushed my body to its limits in my own marathon of meaning.

His professor wants him to get me to set goals. I tell him my goal is to reach my level of fitness after my quest in the spring of 2006. We talk about the things I did to prepare for that. The hikes, the fasting, the hiking while fasting. He is impressed. I am puzzled. I had a goal then – I needed my body to carry me to my solo place.  The goal made the preparation feet like a test of my commitment to the rest of my life.  My goals are simpler now. I want to move freely. I want my body to age gracefully. I want to incorporate more activity into my sedentary life. There is a divide between the woman who set out to quest and the woman who having quested knows that it isn’t about physical stamina. Today as the rain falls, I am asking those two women to bridge the divide.

In the short time I spent writing this, the rain stopped. The cold front is still coming, perhaps this is just a moment of atmospheric instability, I long for thunder and cloud talk and wind and the charged air when things shift. I am shifting and my instability isn’t thunder and cloud talk. Perhaps it needs to be.


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