Returning from April at Ravenrock
A month at Ravenrock focused on Barn construction has meant standing in the swirl of plaster dust, in piles of construction detritus, mousetraps, clutter, looking out the newly installed glass doors. My body expanding, growing into the ground. The Barn is no longer a farm building; it is a temple. A presence enveloping me. A grandeur, and a large timeless purpose. Path. Read more
A childhood friend calls complaining about losing her once-upon-a-time ability to go full-out for twelve hours a day. I had so much energy! Not now. I think we all have to limit how much comparative looking back we do. We can get into a peevish resentment about aging, as if it is a personal affront, rather than moving into the next chapter. I mean, is age really such a surprise? Our house of memories needs culling. It’s a discipline. A little remembrance is fine. A few important, rich memories. I am tolerant of obsessing and redundancy—our rehearsing of the self, making sure we are still who we think we are—but if we rehearse this too much we miss who we are becoming. Read more
Over this summer I was forced to not contribute to ‘society’, because I couldn’t. I had permission from all the world and from myself to survive surgery, to rest, to mend, and to stop feeling that I ought to do anything else. Of course, this tribulation has had quite an effect on me. As I gradually depart from that invalid condition, questions bubble up: What to do next? Who am I now? Should I reflexively return to who I was before, or am I no longer that person? Read more
We Are the Way We Move
I feel so odd. THR surgery has brutalized the soft tissue in and around my hip sockets’ joint capsules. During the first stages of healing, pelvic and femur bones fuse to titanium and ceramic implants, meanwhile the soft tissue must scar tightly so the prosthetic joint won’t dislocate. My physical therapy protocol of strengthening without stretching—the latter would be dangerous for me—feels strange. My inner voice repeats and repeats: Bulk muscles around the bones, compact, tough, to guard and brace. At least for now, while deep inside layers are still fragile. Let them knit and bind. Build a barrier wall. A barricade. I draw into a geological centrality, the way gravity makes the Earth’s crust adhere to the iron planetary core. My limbs and head pour toward my spine as planets cleave to the sun. Read more
Many dancers use bulimia as a solution to getting and staying thin, but I have never been able to stomach it. In fact, I refused even the occasional necessary illness purge. Through a recent Ayahuasca journey in Brazil, I got from that fear and loathing to gratefully accepting my body’s grace.
I am in an airless anteroom, under fluorescent light, with two hundred people, all wearing white, crowded close. Anticipation mingled with anxiety, nervousness, glee swell the murmuring. Some bring memories of previous journeys. Others have never had this experience, though experienced or not, everyone acknowledges that expectation is a hindrance. Read more
A friend took these images an hour before a visiting nurse came to remove the staples.
I have been at Mass General Hospital in Boston for a surgery to replace my hip, then several days afterward in a rehab facility. For me, these are all one hospital experience.
Time has stopped. It moves back and forth, stuck in a groove without progressing. Overhead fluorescent lights flip on, blanching the close corners of a room that is better left in shadow. Weary dusky rose walls, linoleum floors, and acoustic tile ceilings. Stuck time, stuck time, stuck time, stuck time, stuck time…is stagnant. Read more
I lean forward, my feet tucked under me, slightly suspended as my arms press down on the armchair arms. My iliotibial band glows gold with streaks of iridescent peacock blue. The chair bottom falls away. I hang over a chasm. A river crashes through the gorge far below, its roar faint I am so far up. I grip my legs to me but they grow heavy and slowly unfold, and hang down, and now I know that they hang by the merest thread from the sockets. The threads will break soon. My legs will fall and smash on the rocks jagging up through the churning white water. Read more
In the MRI tube, “Fire and Rain” pulses through headphones amidst the insistent rhythmic imaging racket. The music takes me back to 1970 walking along Main Street in Falmouth, MA. I went into the little record store two doors down from what is now the Pickle Jar Cafe but was Loreen’s back then and purchased my first LP—‘Sweet Baby James’ by James Taylor. I hadn’t has sex yet. I hadn’t smoked dope yet. Read more