My tomato seedlings are growing their second set of true leaves, a sprouted mango pit needs to be put into soil, and the other night I dreamt about a former student, the only student I’ve ever had who I would still have said I disliked.
Despite some unpleasantness with those who wanted grades rather than skill, I got on fine with parents so long as they did not send me threatening emails or yell. There were a couple of students who did that, but I was fond of my students. Even the difficult ones—the one who threw a chair, the one who cheated repeatedly, the one high enough to pass out briefly in class, the one who shrieked—even those students. So my dream was about the one I resented and feared, the one I had never forgiven, the one I thought I would not mind something terrible happening to, and terrible things did happen.
In my dream I worked with that student for a long time, I think I might have helped in some way that was less about academics than social interaction. A lot of things happened, people passed by, disliking me or the student or both of us talking, and then because I was late meeting Gary, in my dream I ran three miles. I understood that the running, the ability to run, was a reward for working with that student. It was lightening. When I woke up I remembered it all, the disapproving administer, the shops I passed while running, how marvelous it was to run again, and then I reviewed the mistakes, the many mistakes, I have made over the years in working with students. That impulse to punish myself for failure.
When I had my root canal last week, my blood pressure was taken with a wrist cuff and it was high. Gary says I should stop reading the news.
I think I would like to run.
Yesterday I ran a block or so, just to see if I could. I was out of breath because I am not in good shape and breathing was always the primary limit on my runs. I have scarring on my lungs, possibly from pneumonia, possibly from second hand smoke exposure as a child. It is amazing to me sometimes the little health issues I have learned about myself over the years: the skin tag inside my ear (no wonder it itches sometimes), the mild and intermittent systolic heart murmur, that scarring. No doctor has ever commented on all of them. Most doctors I have seen do not mention any of these minor issues, even after a complete physical.
When I became a runner, after the first three months as I built to my preferred distance of three-six miles, I felt an incredible freedom and power. I miss it, that strength. Chasing seaglass and agates on the beach does not give the same satisfaction. Walking does not use the same muscles, not even when we cover four miles as we did yesterday. Brisk walking is what I need, the least of what I need, as opposed to strolling.
The birds are just waking the morning. A single robin is quite nearby. Gary opened the window so that I could listen while I type. There is faint light in the east, but the dawn is still a ways off.
We rarely used to see rabbits. The wild rabbits were careful to be invisible. Now with at least four local eagles and coyotes, the remnants of domestic rabbit DNA makes them careless. We see youngsters on our walk and in our front yard eating the montbrecia and dandelion greens. We have heard frogs three times this month. I can remember in my youth when the croaking of frogs was loud enough to make me raise my voice to be heard. I remember when a drive in the country left windshields splattered with insects. I can remember before most of the houses in my neighborhood were built, before most of the houses around my childhood home were built, before the houses built all around and in what used to be the front yard of my grandparents’ Portland home were built.
I cut the “Celadon” warp off the loom, knotted the fringes and washed three shawls yesterday. For anyone counting (Gary is) that makes twenty-six woven pieces. The recent three are soft greens with sparks of gold and violet and blue—one greener, one bluer, one with the most violet. They will be folded away today, though I may have to remove my grandmother’s linen tablecloth from the cedar drawer to make room. Brown next? Purple? Wait for the four bright skeins and weave orange again? Or, finally, begin the Indian cotton quilt? Work on the story I printed off for editing yesterday? Having too many choices is not the same as freedom to choose.
Today is a going-out day. We will pick up mail and shop for groceries and household items and then hurry home again.
Before that, we will head out for our predawn walk. And maybe this morning some light running, just as I did the first time I began training back in the 90s, run a half block, walk, run a bit more, repeating every other day until I can manage some distance.
We could all use some distance of another kind.