Wednesday, June 24, 2009

If you just read this post, you'd think I exercise all the time.

Last night I got home at about 9:30 and decided to take a quick ride around the lake. It was dusky, but there was still light on the horizon, and the heat index was finally manageable, meaning it was the best time to ride--so tranquil and beautiful, with hardly any air traffic noise. And since it was a low-key ride, I was just wearing my dress and flip-flops, and I still had all my jewelry on, including the bangles that entranced the 2 1/2 year old I'd just met at dinner. At the lake, three little girls sat on a bench near the shore, their little legs dangling, perfectly silhouetted against the smoky fading sunset and the downtown skyline. I pedaled slowly, liking the infrequent spooky headlights on other people's bikes and the bats overhead. The little clouds of bugs were less impressive, but it's summertime by the lake; what do you want? The bats have to eat.

There's a wetland on one side of the lake, all cattails and reeds and native plants, and as I rounded the curve to that side all the street noise went away and I heard frogs and red winged blackbirds calling. Weird pockets of cool, damp air blasted up from the shore. No one else was around, and the lightning bugs started flaring up out over the wetland. I hadn't seen any yet this summer, and it felt like a private show. I slowed to a crawl and just watched, one tenth of a mile away from a busy street that turns into a highway, and felt like I was alone in the middle of the countryside, which is an awesome feeling if you're in the right mood, and I was.

But of course someone else rode along, and I continued down the path, and the street noise came back, like someone had turned up the volume suddenly. The spell has to break sometime, but at least you're left suffused with well-being.

***

Now I'm going to recommend two movies you've probably already seen: Away from Her and I've Loved You So Long. I wanted to talk about them with someone, but naturally I watched them alone and at odd times of the day. I think we've had Away From Her out from Netflix before and never managed to watch it, but Sarah Polley sort of fascinates me and the performances in the movie are stellar. The same is true of I've Loved You So Long. And both movies have such a strong sense of place, and such a unique look because of how they're situated in their landscapes. Also, they both made me cry. The Brit has been mostly out of town for the last 10 days, so I also watched 13 Going on 30 for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed myself, primarily because of the Thriller dance scene. I don't know why I love group dance scenes/public unison dancing so much, but I have decided that I need to be part of a flash mob at some point in my life. I don't even care if it's for some cynical purpose like advertising cell phones. I want to be in a big group dance that coalesces in a public place and then dissipates like nothing ever happened, leaving a big old upsurge of fellow-feeling in its wake. If you're the organizing type, please organize this and I will get on board.

Finally, there are all kinds of other balance things I cannot do yet in yoga class, but I can headstand, which is the sole legacy of the gymnastics class I took at age 5. Have I mentioned that I argue with myself almost every week about whether or not I'm going to go to my yoga class? It is the dumbest thing ever, because yoga makes more time than it takes, if you want to get all Oprah about it. I always go, but I have to do this mental dance first. I've pretty much stopped doing that with biking to work, so maybe this will pass and then I'll magically get better at standing on one leg.

11 comments:

  1. I have had "I've Loved You So Long" at my house for, I swear, 2 months now. It never seems like the right time to watch it. You've convinced me. The time is now.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The lake scene was perfection. Every word.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Man, I love group dance scenes like that so much, too. For some reason that I haven't quite pinned down, they make me so happy I tear up. Have you seen this one?

    ReplyDelete
  4. That bike ride sounds glorious. And I have wanted to see the Sarah Polley flick for awhile but I am afraid it will wreck me.

    ReplyDelete
  5. If it's any consolation, I *still* have to force myself to practice *many* days each week. As you said, it always ends well, but practice is practice, whatever the discipline, and yoga's no more magical than singing or sports or Nintendo Wii. Process, not product.
    And, I'm totally afraid of sirsasana, so kudos you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Agreeing with Madness...the lake scene is killing me. You make me really want to visit your lovely state.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Justin, the topic of the day at yoga was fearlessness--hence all the crazy one-legged postures and headstanding and whatever that thing is where you frog squat and lift your feet off the ground. There is a big part of me, in fact the largest slice of my internal pie chart, that is all about puttering around the house and not getting very much done. I am in constant battle with that part. It's ridiculous.

    Christy, I can't follow your link. Is it Do Re Mi? Single Ladies? They all make me well up too, even Beyonce songs.

    You should all come visit and bring your bikes.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Man, I want to go out riding my bike now, but the thing is, no matter what time of day I take the sea wall (the closest thing to a lake by my house), it will be people-filled. So envious. And I loved 13 going on 30 and will now look up the other 2 movies since I haven't seen them yet.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ok, this just in: we watched "I've Loved You So Long" this evening. I am sold on KST, and was sold on the movie up until the last ten minutes. After we finished watching, I went online to read review. The Times review pretty much says what I'm feeling:

    "A revelation comes near the end that is both tremendously moving and a bit disappointing, in the way that the solutions to great mysteries frequently are. This turn does not diminish the accomplishment of Ms. Scott Thomas’s deep, subtle and altogether stunning performance, but it does alter the scale of the movie, turning it into a more manageable, less existentially unsettling drama. Which is a relief, I suppose, but also a bit of a letdown."

    ReplyDelete
  10. Melinda, I totally agree. The performances were so great and I was so invested in the sister relationship that I was gripped through all of that, but there was a neutral observer part of me going "wait, is this maudlin?" But then the part of me that enjoys emoting was like "shut up." And thinking about it a few days later, I found that I still had mixed feelings about the way it wrapped up, but it was making me think about the "existentially unsettling" might-have-beens anyway, so overall I still feel satisfied with it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ack, sorry about the link. I think what I was linking you to was a flash mob dancing to M. C. Hammer's "Can't Touch This." You should be able to find it easily on youtube. :-)

    ReplyDelete