This blog includes reflections, creative work and resources. It is a glimpse of one person's journey within the realm of inquiry, experience with the human body and spirit. Look for ideas rather than answers. No claims are made. Perfection is not implied. I write as inspired to do so. Take what works for you, leave the rest. If you share anything from this blog, either verbally or in writing, please do your best to give credit where credit is due. Thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Peak Experience While On The Land

I was away in the North Country with my husband for about 10 days.  Although I brought my laptop for blog writing it never made it out of the bag.  When I'm up there a lot of time is spent outdoors. In college I read Woodswoman by Anne Labastille.  I recall how she described the way her body would firm-up within a week of returning to cabin life and soften again when she re-entered "civilization".  Now, my lifestyle up there is nothing like hers but I do a lot of physical work.  And physical work being good for the soul is what I'm going to write about here.

The stance on physical labor can go in several directions.  If you have to do it, it's not so pleasurable.  Where I'm with it, at least right now, is more like George W. Bush clearing brush on his ranch.  I could hire locals to do the things I'm doing but I want to engage and do it myself.  If you've ever seen the cult film Office Space, you'll remember the appreciation for outdoor physical work summed up in 2 words and repeated twice towards the end of the movie: "F***in'-A."

While stacking a cord of wood by myself I had a peak moment.  [I need to record the 5-6 peak life moments rattling around in my head.]  It was a hot, humid day.  It was a lonely couple of hours spent behind the garage going between the north-side where the stack was being created and the east-side where the guy dumped the pile.  There's no view except for many white pines, the county road, an A-frame house belonging to a quiet night-shift worker & day sleeper and a trailer where an elderly man with a colorful past lives with his kitten. But he's slowing down and he doesn't come out to visit as much anymore.  The man that is.

Towards the end of my task I decided to use the pickup truck to move the last of the pile a little closer to the house.  Keeping most of the wood away from living quarters is best because field mice and ants take up residence.  But when several feet of snow is on the ground reducing the snowshoe distance in half can be a relief, especially when the Arctic wind cuts down the river valley, into the lake valley then into our open meadow.  So, I loaded up the bed of the truck and while driving it around I turned on the radio set to a classic rock station.  Parked at the edge of a high ravine I stacked overlooking hills in a pre-sunset and pre-storm period.  As I unloaded and stacked wood thunder rumbled. Led Zeppelin played on the radio. My right wrist twinged from overuse, my left arm was bruising up from using it to cradle wood, my skin was drenched with sweat, the yucky "land clothes" were yuckier and my tangled hair surely held bugs. It was bliss.  I thought, "If lightening gets me right now I will die happy."       

This is nothing profound but in that moment I reflected on asana and how it is physical work we voluntarily engage in.  I thought about our woods class back in Virginia and how I'm not sure if I'll really synch with indoor classes again.  I thought about my possible future and how it may take me to live in the North Country.  Where will asana fit in my life outside of being a form of physical therapy?  Would I even approach the body in asana form to feel the deep life energy when I feel absolutely alive breathing deeply out of necessity and applying my physical being to shape the land in order to sustain and nourish myself and others?

So as I sit here now, the deltoids that were full and strong 4 days ago are getting smaller by the day.  My middle is plumping up.  Without some sort of seemingly contrived effort I doubt my legs will be challenged like the were when I was cutting 4' tall weeds in the southeast field around the blackberry canes and loving every second of it.

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