The storm crows met me this morning with melodies of alarm from my phone and from my wrist, calling for floods and earthquake weather. They hadn’t slept all night, attempting to breech the roof, walls and windows.
Neither had I. A heavy cloud, a choice to draw lines and stake my place in my world, or believe in something I could neither hold nor see and unpromised, sat on my neck and wrapped around my torso, tightening into a knot at the tip of my spine, compressing my frame into a rigid shaft of spiny bone, jointless and shaped like a shepherd’s crook.
I ignored the first reveille, and the second, and by 6:30 I had neither gained an ounce, nor spent one. I stood, and began to perform. I engaged the rituals: walking the dog, boiling eggs, and ironing my pants. Radio stations filled my car with the blather of quarterbacks and pitching lineups, school board races, and more sinister news. But things were about to turn.
First, I ate a frog. A big one: admitting an omission and directing its correction. The heavens continued to rain, but weights were transforming into dirigibles, silver sky bullets. Then, I negotiated a deal, nearly walking away until I could live with the results. I took my walk, ate my eggs, and wrote a poem that pulled a splinter from my mind.
Another negotiation, and then three more action items were fitted with check marks, each stroke laid down with a rising vigor. Every email was read, filed, or replied to, and it was only just past three o’clock. Five rivers were flowing in five directions, and I took turns piloting each one. In between, I talked, joked, and invited more guests to a planned party.
I arrived home to a tidy, not quite empty house. The space that would be filled with children was temporarily hanging, less than empty, as a vacuum in the bedrooms and office. My buddy whined, nails playing arhythmic percussion on the floor of the den. Released, he scrambled through the house in his search of additional signs of life. Finding nothing, the front door and full bladder wrested control of his tennis ball sized brain.
A wet walk around the block, and I was off again. Fitness boxing at the local club is a less than gritty experience, but my muscles screamed nonetheless. Men and women and Katy Perry remixed on the speakers. This was good for me, if not strictly the training I am and will be seeking. It’s what I’d do in my basement, without the curls and squats and the sound of iron plates ringing off each other. Without Priest, Beastie Boys, and Propaghandi. It is definitely in the plus column, though.
Wet, exhausted, and revved up physically, two eggs, cheese, and some microwaved green beans filled the machine. Fixed feet, a hot blast on my back, and a slowly un-knotting brain, ( on which I was methodically turning the volume down to a whisper), were my before bed indugences, my dispensation, and my compensation. Three pages of Sacks later, I realized the answer to the morning’s question: both. I breathed a final thank you to the god of good days.