It Took You Long Enough

No hat. No gloves. No coat. No socks, even.

I walked Boomer through campus and everyone’s head was up. People are smiling at me again. They ask to pet Boomer. They want to hug her. They want her to lick them. But she doesn’t.

Unless they smell like food.

I grilled chicken breasts on the grill tonight.  I  cooked without a coat. Without gloves. Without socks.

Some of the windows were open in Butler and the sounds of horns practicing wafted across campus.

Everything is on the verge.

I wear sunglasses, and a white yoga top and capris. Shoes with no socks.

No down. No wool. No scarf. No hat.

If I wasn’t running late, I would have walked.

It is time to start waking up earlier now.  I want more day because the days are playing nice now.

Finally.

Hello spring.

It took you long enough.

 

 

The First Day of Spring

Today it snowed. Two inches of heavy wet snow on this astronomical “first day of spring.”

I got up, made coffee and raisin toast, filled the bird feeders, then headed up to my cozy lair, turned on the space heater and settled in for a long write.

Yesterday a book I had ordered called, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O’Donahue came.

I had come across a poem from this collection recently,  and fell in love with it, so I ordered the volume.

And today, while the snow fell softly, and my room filled with warmth, I sat and read it from cover to cover.

And wept.

And underlined.

And wrote notes to myself so I would not t forget this.

And stared out the window. And thought about my life, and my death, and time and love.

And as the snow continued to fall, I got up and checked the mail, and for the first time in many years there was no letter. And I was sad.

Every year for the past 6 or 7, I have led a Yoga Nidra class on New Year’s Eve and at the end, I offer the people who come the opportunity to write a letter to themselves.

I write one, too. And it always starts like this, “Dear Kath, I have been waiting for you to get really quiet and listen to me because I have so many things I need to talk to you about, darling.”

This is a letter from my soul, my heart, inner wisdom guide. And after yoga nidra, I am so deeply dialed in, that I don’t even write it. I just surrender the pen to her, and she tells me what I really need to know.

When the letter is done, I seal it in an envelope, and collect all the similar sealed, self-addressed letters of the participants, and then mail them all to arrive in mailboxes on the first day of spring.

But this year, I didn’t have the Yoga Nidra class. This year I didn’t write my letter, and so today, there was no letter from my soul.

Maybe that is why the universe sent me the astonishingly beautiful Blessings from John O’Donahue.

Spring has always been my favorite season. From this day until the Summer Solstice, I have always felt, since early childhood, a quickening and a coming to life at this time of year.

Spring does not always have the best weather here where I live in northern Pennsylvania. It is a fickle season of rain and snow. It is a season that teases, then withdraws.

It is often muddy and cold and sullen. But every day is a bit longer than the one before. Every day a new bird arrives at the feeder, a new flower pierces the snow crust.

Tomorrow I think I will write a letter to myself and give it to G to mail to me on the Summer Solstice. I like getting letters from my  spirit in the mail.

But for today I would ask that if you are so inclined, order this John O’Donahue book, and read it in your cozy lair.  I think you will be amazed. I will leave you with this excerpt from his poem ,A Morning Offering:

May my mind come alive today

To the invisible geography

That invites me to new frontiers.

To break the dead shell of yesterdays,

To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today

To live the life that I would love,

To postpone my dream no longer

But do at last what I came here for

And waste my heart on fear no more.

I Never Know What to Write About

The question of the moment is: Should I sit here and continue to eat refined carbohydrates and drink coffee, or go to Wegmans for green juice supplies?

OR: Should I stop eating refined carbohydrates and go up and meditate first, and then go to Wegmans for green juice supplies?

OR: Should I put on a James Altucher podcast and clean the house, then go for my Power Walk, and then go to Wegmans for green juice supplies?

OR: Should I write about how there were 22 people for Happy Hour Yoga last night and I had a freakin’ blast?

OR: Should I write about the Yoga Challenge which is in Day 5, and how I heard someone ask another person: “Are you yoga challenged?”

(“Why, yes. Yes I am.”)

This is what the wall looks like in the lounge:

Yoga Challenged

OR: Maybe I should complain write about the weather. Now that would be novel and interesting.

Winter face in spring

OR: Maybe I should write about how Spring lifted up her skirt and let us catch a glimpse of her panties the other day, and I saw it and captured it:

Snowdrops

But then she put her long johns back on and pretended like it never happened.

OR: Maybe I should write about how we found a new place to eat in Corning that serves green food and we were so happy!

(This is G pounding wheatgrass shots and my salad.)

Pretty salad

G drinks wheat grass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And what would a post be without a picture of the miraculous Obie? Em took him to “Mommy and Baby” class and clearly he had too much to drink.

 

Obie: Done.

OR: Maybe, now that I’ve procrastinated long enough by writing this post and my  blood glucose levels are dropping precariously, I should go to Wegmans for green juice supplies.

Kaddish

Today on my walk through campus on the way to my class, I passed a guy sitting on a bench reading Allen Ginsburg’s Kaddish.

First, I was amazed that: 1) he wasn’t sitting on that bench smoking a cigarette; and 2) that his head wasn’t buried in some kind of electronic device; and 3) that he wasn’t talking on a cell phone.

He was a college kid, sitting on a bench in front of the English building, reading a book. And it was a very odd siting.

Today was another incredibly beautiful day here. The daffodils are up now, and the red, red robins are bob, bob, bobbin’ along.

Kaddish definitely did not fit this day. It’s an intense book. Dark. A good January book.

Once, many years ago, I heard a guy on the radio say this: “There is one day in the calendar that you will not live through.”

His words chilled me. I had never thought of it (death) that way, i.e. as a date on a calendar that I would not see the completion of.

After I heard him say that, I remember walking outside. It was a day in early spring, much like today: the may apples were just pushing up, and the ground smelled fudgey. There were tender leaf shoots budding all over the forsythia, and in that moment I  remember thinking to myself: Please god, don’t let me die in the spring. Please don’t let that day I don’t live through be the day the lilacs bloom. I don’t want to die in the spring.

When I saw that kid reading Kaddish, I thought of that day, and also of my father-in-law: a kind man, an orthodox jew, sitter of too many shivas, and a part of way too many minyons.

I remembered hearing him recite Kaddish in Hebrew, by heart, as he had learned it as a young man in Hebrew school.  I remembered how hard it was to gather a minyon to say Kaddish for him because he had out-lived most of his peers.

And now, here I was, once again, on a beautiful day in spring, thinking of death, and praying again: Please don’t let that day in the calendar I don’t live through be a day in spring.

A Little Pincha Spring

It was a ridiculously warm day  here in northern Pennsylvania. Ree-Dic-Yoo-Lus. Like in the 70s.

March, we never knew ya.

I walked out onto the deck to drink my Orgain for lunch and found myself face-to-face with my Christmas tree. Not only that, all my window boxes are still filled with decorative pine boughs. The bird feeder was strangely silent.

I thought about launching the tree over the railing and down onto the patio below and then dragging it down through the woods.

I thought about doing the same with the pine boughs.

I thought that it is probably a good idea to start bringing in the bird feeder at night now, because the bears, if they ever actually hibernated at all, were sure to be waking up now, and I don’t want a “yogi-sighting” on my deck in the middle of the night.

As I drank my lunch, I tried to figure out what would be a good sequence for my class on this ridiculously splendid spring day, and I decided that spring is the time for taking some risks!  After all, all births have some element of risk and danger in them, and since spring is the time for re-birth, why not try some risky stuff tonight.

So after some challenging standing balances, I had everyone drag their mats to the wall for some pincha mayurasana prep.

Pincha Mayurasana - Forearm Stand
Pincha Mayurasana - Forearm Stand (Photo credit: a4gpa)

They kinda freaked, but that’s what I had in mind, and it was good, and a few people actually got their legs up on the wall!

I was so proud of them for giving it a go, for trying. They are such a bunch of bad asses, my students.

Love them.