Pretty much each morning about sunup I’m sitting on my favorite bench over at the plaza in the old adobe village of Mesilla. I hang out there drinking coffee that I got at Denny’s and trying to think up things to write to you. I’m getting to know the other regulars – a couple of ladies who come walking by with a sweet old dog; the guy who waters the grass; a group of bicyclists who gather here. A very nice woman who is trying to smile her way through her grief – she and I have begun telling our stories to each other.
So yesterday I’m sitting there trying to come up with something to write for you. I’ve got a thing on dualism I’m working on, but it’s gotten sticky. So I’m sitting there and a large bug comes walking out of the grass and is headed across the walk toward my bench. I’m wearing sandals and I don’t want this thing walking on my toes so I keep my eye on it. The bug – which I take to be some version of a beetle – has this clumsy, lurching gait. At recurring intervals it just about falls on its nose. I’m thinking this is not a very good design; what could be the adaptive advantage of doing a face-plant every couple of seconds?
My new friend gets closer and now I see something that rubs out my evolutionary question. The bug has three legs on each side, and on one side one of the legs is messed up. On the left side the middle leg is broken off about half way up. So every time that leg’s turn comes around, the bug does a nose dive. It’s not a bad design at all; my friend has just taken some hits along the line.
The bug limps on by without coming near my toes. It continues on to the edge where the curb of the street is. It’s a narrow, brick street, but it’s got to be a mile across in bug terms. The only way forward is a sheer drop down the curb face into the street. As the bug goes over the edge, I’m thinking – Okay, this is curtains for the bug. But pretty soon the bug comes back into view, limping straight across the street. We are fortunate that at this hour there is very little traffic. The bug makes it to the other side. And at the other side there is the vertical wall of the other curb. This is not a climbing sort of bug. This is a plodding, limping bug that only knows enough to put one foot in front of the other. And now it’s in a rut that it can’t see and can’t climb out of. It staggers along the gutter, unknowing but sufficient. If it lasts until it gets to the corner, I think there’s a curb cutout where it might at least get out of the street.
Now, maybe you think that I’m going to tell you how I’m just like that bug.
But, no, that bug and I are not at all alike.
Sometimes a bug is just a bug.
I hurt my back last night. This morning I confessed it to my wife and now she’s looking at me all squinty-eyed. I hurt my back way back there and went around with it for about twenty years before I did anything about it. Got it straightened out with yoga, pretty much. But she’s been through it. We have a car now so we’re not on foot, but we’re still homeless and we’re supposed to go looking at houses today. She says, You can’t go looking at houses like this. And I say, As long as I don’t have to bend over to look at ’em, I’ll be fine.
And now for the embarrassing part. Please, please don’t tell anyone this. I have a real problem with this, but I’m trying to be up front with you, so… I hurt my back last night teaching yoga. I know. Ironic, huh. I’m new here and the class is a one-hour format and I’m used to an hour-fifteen or hour and a half. I’m still in my old groove and I haven’t adjusted. In fact, I’ve been off-balance ever since we got here because I can’t get a routine going. About all I can do is put one foot in front of the other and try to concentrate on the next five minutes. And now that I screwed my back, I’m having trouble even putting one foot in front of the other.
So I try to get the class through a good sequence and I know that I’m off. So I tighten up over that and I push. I don’t do the warm-up with them and I demonstrate the asanas on only one side and pretty soon one side is off, but I keep right on going. What else am I going to do? I feel my back go and so I start throwing in a lot of restorative stuff just in case and thank goddess I don’t see any of the students looking like they’re hurting. At the end of class I tell them they are beautiful, and they tell me it was a good class. They seem happy. Maybe I got away with it this time.
Teaching again tomorrow.
Just about out of my super duper, doctor-strength ibuprofen that my doctor-sister Panda Bear (not her real name) turned me on to.
Maybe they’d like some chair yoga.
And YOU thought this was going to be about me being like that bug!