Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sky metaphors abound

Flew out of the thick SF fog, Twin Peaks stirring it with its tower. Sierra and Rockies holding July snow in their shadowy nooks. I love my usually infallible travel guy. (I've seen him so much in the last two years that I feel I may have to produce a ring.) This time he dropped the ball; three friggin hours stranded in Denver's new airport. I've never been here so start to walk. Make that stroll, given the length of the corridors. No, make that strut, due to Little Feat pumping thru the headphones. It's especially hard not to strut when the song is "Rocket in my Pocket." Caught part of a ball game on TV near my gate. I'm sorry but no amount of slo-mo replays can make baseball seem exciting. (Though I love it.) An hour later, bumping down into Albuquerque, as if sliding down a flight of stairs on your ass. It's often white knuckle coming in here.

So now a week in New Mexico and already a year older. I've spent most of my time on the back patio, getting lost in the vast sky. It's not the perfect dark blue of winter that I've become used to on my Xmas visits. After 12 summers away, I've long forgotten the clouds that flit at the horizon, but never seem to come in. I read alot, usually nature stuff about the land and the West. I listen to music. Ballads make me zone out and stare off the edge of the mesa. The Rio Grande is down there somewhere. Farther out are the LaDrones, former home to thieves, and ever-spooky looking with their jagged crags.

It's been hot too. I remember now how swamp coolers don't quite do the job. One day it hit 104, and Pete and I were locked out. We sat on the front grass in the shade, listening to the ice cream man's bells draw closer, our collective grins reaching Cheshire proportions. Timing is sometimes beautiful, baby. Another day, I sat in the car a half hour as my mom shopped, in a metal box cooked by 101 sun. No particular reason; the body just cries out to know. A final experiment in the desert. My father and my son share a grave in an unshaded cemetery on a large patch of bare, open desert. Think Boot Hill. I did my incense ritual, then walked around a bit. Yep. You'll die in the desert, and you'll die fast.

One incredibly windy day, I drove up to Santa Fe, the first of three daily commutes in a row. Tumbleweeds blew sideways across I-25 and later I needed to floss my grill. Again with the open space, the mind tries to fill it, often with litter best left packed away. So I sing. Now remember, my music collection in NM ends in 1994. (My own Austin Powers syndrone.) As I drive I'm just cranking old grunge stuff and caterwauling, Temple of the Dog, Singles soundtrack. (Pearl Jam was somethin' fierce back then.) Plus Catherine Wheel's Ferment (Black Metallic one of the best tunes ever.), a Jefferson Airplane compilation, Camper Van Beethoven taking skinheads bowling. Sunday morning it's all Lou Reed, storytelling the entire drive up. I'm temporarily distracted by Sandia Peak's tram cable, glistening like spider floss in the early sun. Then, the brutal power of the song Street Hassel (sic) brings me back. Favorite music, no matter how old, sounds so good, even on cassette. On the Pink Floyd tape, you can still hear the LP pops.
I went to Santa Fe for a Sanskrit intensive. It's a dead language (essentially), and I like the idea that I can become fluent in 12 hours. The class is held by my teacher Tias Little's yoga studio, and is part of my teaching license. The other members of the class are pretty cool, the usual suspects: yoga teachers, Gita freaks, or just aging hipsters looking for a hysterical fix at...sorry Ginsberg kicked in again. One girl, a New York opera singer, claims I speak Sanskrit with a Japanese accent. By Sunday, my mind's eye is filled with the twisted, squiggling shapes fresh from Tim Burton's imagination, my tongue tired from tracing strange shapes and sounds. The next night, while eating dinner on my mom's patio at dusk, I begin to see the characters extending from the branches of a tall pine tree, silhouetted against the sky.

Sunday, I dropped in on Tias' yoga class and remembered why I love him as a teacher. In my own classes, I emphasize feet alot, something I get from him. He's got a knack for keeping you grounded. Something important in this land where it's easy to get lost in this big big sky and all the NewAge energy threatening to cut your tether. And boy I've been drifting. Since arriving in NM, I've had this internal monologue going about where I want to go next year. Kyoto? London? San Francisco? Santa Fe? Drifting, just drifting. Two hours with Tias brought me back down. It also reminded me how hard his yoga is. Five minutes in headstand? Um, OK. The next couple days, I was sore up my sides, from hip to armpit. Are there even muscles there? Hamstrings hamstrung. I look forward to next week with more than a little dread.

And as I finish typing this, I hear the wind rustle the trees and feel the air cool. Looking out, I see that the clouds, a week held at bay, are moving in. Monsoon season is under way...

On the turntable: (see above) plus Buckwheat Zydeco, "On a Night Like This "
On the nighttable: John Sutter, "Poets on the Peaks"
"Heart of the Land; Essays on the Last Great Places"

1 comment:

yogamomdana said...

ted--just checking in, because eric's here from kyoto. late night blog-trotting.

you make me laugh, then namida ga deru made kanji ga suru, you wicked guy. keep it up, whatever it is.

see you in a couple of weeks,