Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

27 October 2011

Two Walks

Overwhelmed by work, the writing the reading the studying – all about violence, prison, torture.
Images of mutilated bodies of genocide, invading my dreams, even.

Away from my desk and its bright screen with its tiny letters and big blank spaces I gulp in air.
Big full breaths, as though I have forgotten how to inhale.
Or as if, actually, I've been indoors all day at my keyboard reading and writing about prison-rape.

And I walk around this silly man-made lake in the middle of town and keep breathing.
I am aware, of course, of my breath as I walk. In. Deep in the lungs.
To the bottom. And out again. Walking.

And I am aware, of course, of my walking. Hyper-aware, actually. How
Is my posture? Are my hips sinking? Is my back aligned? How is my neck?
Do I feel my feet as they touch the sidewalk, even in these trackers? Does my breath have a rhythm?

Finding my center, locating alignment, will, I know, enrich this walk,
Allow me to calm down quickly. Worry less. And it does.

Back to a time I hardly remember. Walking to church.
Walking to school. My walk the subject of much consideration
By my parents and other adults, the cause
Of much anxiety for my eight-year-old-or-whatever self.

Hands at sides. Straighten up. Don't swish. Keep your eyes forward. I
Perfected that walk as carefully and methodically as I could.
It was never quite right, of course. But I approximated the something at which I aimed, anyway.

The art of walking.

I keep walking. High on my hip sockets, not thinking about swishing one bit.
And I look down and I'm – surprise – wearing a pink tee-shirt. Femininity not
A concern of mine these days.

And as the muscled twentysomething runs by and looks just a tad longer than normal
I smile at him broadly. And breathe in again.