неделя, 13 април 2008 г.

July Mornings in Sonoma

This picture was taken in Albena, where I taught my friends to do Tai Chi on the beach.
I wrote the story in July 2005.

Lately I missed a few of my regular Sunday Tai Chi practices in the park next to the Boys & Girls Club and in my mind now and again is the picture of those bright summer mornings, without fog and chill in the early 9 am air. As always there are six to eight old timers, few visitors from time to time and our leader is Sifu Lewis, who ran the local Kung fu and Tai Chi academy for years. We crowd in the shade of a huge tree, which covers the circle at the end of the driveway. We stand facing a huge lawn and the hills above town.

We sip on our coffees and chai tea, and chat slowly for few minutes until everyone arrives. We mostly exchange of pleasantries and talk of the latest fishing or nature trips with our friends, few words about the weather and the crops from an organic farmer and a kung-fu master with the flair of the arts and good brew. Lately politics start to move into the conversation too early, but I try usually to defuse it with a silly jab.

Warm-ups begin and we are now silent, but someone’s bones crack or birds shout. We twist and rotate, do the sit-ups, pick cherries in the air, push in and out, focus, inhale and exhale, the usual routine.

Next, the dog people as I call them show up, usually a few ladies with well-mannered dogs, who share with us the huge parking lot. They are fast-talking about something, but I try to keep my concentration, I’ve seen them before. Few parents with young children go to the playground near by. Once, people came with a minesweeper and swept under the swings, and picked a few things out of the sand, maybe lost coins or gold rings. I still wonder how much or what they found there and do they go to other playgrounds as well.

Forgetting the treasurers under the swings, we are already doing the hard exercises at the end of the warm-ups and I am starting to fill the beauty of the day and try to absorb the energy of the earth into my slowly awaking body. Then she shows up. I love it.

At the far end of the park you can see a young woman with roller blades on her feet and headphones on, gliding fast and skillfully on the asphalt alley and is coming towards us. She has the usual black tights and t-shirt, her long blond hair shines, sometimes hidden under a headband. I am trilled because this is my favorite part of the warms ups and she is fairly on time. She gives us a warm smile, waives her arms high in the air and she is gone. Once she gave us a big kiss in the air and blew it to us with both hands.

I don’t know who she is, but let me thank her here for zooming by and making those mornings brighter. I heard that she stopped once and chatted with our group, but I wasn’t there and didn’t meet her.

After that, we start our Tai-chi form, which is well rehearsed by most of us and we put on quite a show. It takes us about 20 minutes to complete it and we break again. In the next few minutes, we do the ending stretches and part with the feeling of accomplishment and joy.

July Mornings in Sonoma, this one is for you.

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