Sunday, February 26, 2012

Winter Over the Ocean...

I closed my eyes and took a slow, deep breath in. Sinking onto the porch swing, I was startled at how clear and swirling the air felt this morning.

   WhoooooOOOOOOSHHHHH, creak, creeeeak-tic-tic-tic... 

The trees bent and stretched in the wind; practicing the yoga of ages flown past. 

The air was really crisp and fresh, almost salty. The same smell you find in Nantucket or New Hampshire when you're on a boat, far out, in cold weather. 

The air was.... unpredictable. 

As though Marry Poppins could come floating by with her carpet bag and her umbrella. As though something out of a children's movie could come sweeping in a rush down the street, leaving behind icy-blue sparkles and freezing time in it's wake.

 It was the sort of outdoor feeling that you get gazing up at a night winter sky.... stars glowing as though they really had footlights and fresnels time-set and flickering on and off behind them.

 There was... magic in the air... and it was broad daylight... 

 In books, when a character is overexcited or usually, scared, they "half-expect," to see something, or for something to happen that would complete their picture of fear or wonder. That's how I felt this morning... I wouldn't have been surprised to see Terry Pratchett mosey down the sidewalk in front of my house, or for a large, huge draft horse to come pawing at my screen door, his front end with barely enough room to fit under the porch... or for a Phoenix to come swooping to my kitchen window.

I absolutely LOVE moments like this. Small snatches of seconds that one feels anything at all is completely and entirely and probably possible.

I remember a feeling I had once in high-school, I'd just finished a french exam with S.B. (an AWESOME teacher) and I felt so wonderful and light, that I quite literally skipped out of the classroom and paused, my soul humming with energy as I seriously considered the consequences I would face if I decided to follow my sudden impulse to hand-spring and backflip up and down the hall... I felt such a delightful rush and the muscle, bone, body knowledge that yes, at that moment, I could without a doubt be able to flip my way entirely down the hall and not hit anybody... just as I had my books thrown down and my hands in the air, a teacher popped out of a classroom. 

I stopped, my hands straight up over my head,  and looking up, met her raised eyebrows with a smile. 

  "Just stretching," I said cheerfully. She glanced at my left foot in front of my right, my hands a little to uniform (damn gymnastics) and blinked, as if to say "Yeah right, this is a new one," and with the deeply tired sigh of someone who has to be around pesky teenagers all day, turned and walked away from me down the hall.

   Oh well...

I had a dance professor once talk to me about the knowledge some little kids have. They just know they can do something, and they really can. They've perhaps never done a cartwheel, but they just decide to do it, after seeing someone else do it, and poof! They can do it too.

I was one of those kids. Anything to do with me moving my body-- dance and cartwheels and flips, I had no fear... unless heights were involved... had to be careful when you were above the ground. I lost that ability to relaxedly and confidently "do stuff," somewhere around age 11. Reality set in, and I learned I could get hurt if I messed up. 

Oh to have no fear and complete body knowledge again...

Time takes a lot of those magical powers away from you. Most people wouldn't even attempt a somersault, let alone a cart-wheel, past their teenage years, and it's a pity. Falling and rolling around on the grass is one of the great joys of life--- it doesn't matter if your legs and arms don't respond the way they used to, and are no longer made of rubber as they were when you were small. It's about moving in your own space and body and enjoying the little lift and exhilaration that occurs when you step out of your safety zone.

I wish I felt that way all the time. But then, I probably wouldn't appreciate it... or I'd just get arrested for doing backflips in public places...

I'm trying to recommit to some of those things I loved when I was younger. To enjoy the sensations of movement in my body, even if the only dancing I have time for that day, is while I'm cooking (it's impossible for me to stir anything - pan, pot - without standing on one foot and rolling my hips. It got pointed out to me by a frisbee friend (D.S.) once when we were making butternut-squash soup together, and I have to admit, I'd never noticed it before) or doing mundanely normal things around the house. 

I don't move like a "normal person," according to J. He always tells me that for some reason, I have to dance around when I do things... he likes it, finds it cute and attractive. I'm just glad he's tolerant of me tap dancing as I wait in the check-out line of the grocery, or when I suddenly decide to skip through a parking lot, or pirouetting  as I bring a mixing bowl down from the shelf with an arabesque to set it on the counter. I can't stop doing it (just as when I find myself singing or humming and I didn't remember starting) so I'm just thankful he accepts it and finds it somewhat endearing.

I'm sure someday, if we have kids, it will embarrass them to pieces when they have friends over. I've accepted this. I don't care. It's more fun than "moving like a normal person," and I really have no control over it, so dammit, I'm going to enjoy it.

I just find joy in movement and music. I always have. I'm a cheerful person! I like to wake up early and stay up late and nap through the heat of the afternoon. 

My friends and family often comment on how annoyingly pleasant I am most of the time. It means that when I'm upset, or find myself slipping into a negative mood, it's that much more of a contrast, and that much harder for the people I love to be around me. 

People I've just met, who've had to call me for one reason or another, frequently comment on the answering message on my cell phone. They say things like,

   "I've never heard a more cheerful and pleasant happy greeting! It's so... you!" 

  It's true. My voicemail is cheerful, optimistic and warm. I try to make sure it's always that way when I re-record it. I feel that's the best representation of how I want to be spoken to and treated, so why not?

I'm not saying I'm a gosh-darn Disney-Princess-Cheery-Sickeningly-Sweet-Saint or anything... I just try to stay optimistic, happy and ready to roll with the punches most of the time. Everyone in the world has bad days, bad moods, and gets upset occasionally. Nobody's perfect and I fail a lot, but I try not to get down on myself (I'm very self-judgmental and at times self-deprecating, which sucks) to the point where it ruins my day. 

Life's too short for that.

This morning, I took a sip of my tea and breathed in again, more deeply than before.

Yes. It smells like chance out here. Like infinite possibility. 

The same smell as winter, rolling out over the ocean. Whenever I miss the water (if CO had the sea, I would probably never leave) I remind myself that the wind currents are just like the water currents. We live in a sea of atmosphere, and imagining the enormous ocean of air, the sky a mirror of the wet blue beneath, is comforting.

Tides will rise and fall, flow in and out. Waves will continuously sculpt the sand beneath, and the whales will sing their souls to the deep... 

 Anything and everything really, truly, is possible.

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