Monday, November 23, 2009

America Present

I think it was fall that woke me up. I love fall. It's my favorite season. It's kind of... spicy and magical. Since my return from India a week ago, I've felt like a ghost, or rather a slightly younger Ebenezer Scrooge being herded from place to place by the Ghost of America Present. This is my third re-entry in the last year and a half, but the triple whammy of jet lag, reverse culture shock, and Stockholm Syndrome hit me several times harder this go 'round. Hard to say why, but the last week found me drifting through the Berkeley hills in an exhaustion-induced stupor, feeling like my psychic insides were stranded somewhere over the Pacific, and the rest of me in utter revolt against my own culture.

Apart from those precious moments nuzzling my nephew and giggling through sun salutations with my neice, I just couldn't quite seem to get back in my body, until the air, crisper than a pressed shirt, and the blazing foliage reeled in that old astral cord. It was tenuous at first, and I felt nervous about boarding yet another flight to head back to the east coast, but here I really am, and feeling more in my bones every day.

I was happy to observe (upon arriving in my body) that I don't appear too much the worse for wear, apart from a few missing pounds and a persistent tendency to do head counts before getting into any motorized vehicle. Indeed, the worst damage I've sustained occured a couple of days ago when, during a 5am yoga practice (jet lag, you are a cruel mistress), I attempted an arm balance before my poor body had time to wake up, and landed squarely on my face with the full weight of my body behind it. Though I'm now getting wierd pains in my left temple, the face plant doesn't seem to have done any lasting harm (or, unfortunately, good), and I am undaunted in my quest to master yoga like someone with arms of normal length.

My recollections of the semester have already begun to sweeten and sift out the less-than-savory moments. I've finally managed to pin down some of that elusive gratitude for the lessons of the last three months, and the students who brought them to my doorstep- beautiful little pissers, all, and well on their way, I think, to a better way of being. Or maybe I should just speak for myself. It will probably be a few years before I figure out why the last year and a half of my life felt like something I absolutely had to do, and no time at all to be sure that I'm done.

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