Juxtapositioning

words are foreplay for the soul
December 30th, 2009

2009 in the rear-view mirror

A year ago I had just moved from a country that didn’t want me to a bare echoey white place hidden under a stifling canopy of tall dark trees. I adore trees, and loved lying in bed looking at green branches, but the bare echoey place had an inner emptiness that rang loudly in my ears.

Plus it had weird carpet.

In the spring I discovered forested trails and alternate universes. I sat, motionless, sometimes for hours, staring out through a skylight and eventually emerging into a giddy, childlike state, a person who thought lakes were oceans and wondered whether she should be driving real cars.

A year ago I had a job, a sort of a job, a full time gig for part time pay, plus a promise of a someday full time pay for the time I was putting in, so I wrote and I wrote and I edited and I wrote my little heart out. In February that world exploded and it limped along through May, and then I was done. No job, no pay.

I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane and found my way through a maze of fears. Later, a motorcycle fell on me.

In June I moved to a smaller place near the water and near the trails and across the street from a banyan tree and in a community. The Magic Bus drives up from time to time and takes people places. I look out my tiny window and see a slice of ocean. The place isn’t hidden, is sometimes a fishbowl with the world looking in, but it fits me better. I have an easel and paints, and I write. The sun shone on this place and now the rain falls gently on my sari-clad zen room and my bicycles smile through their gears.

In July my intentions caught up with the world.

In August I brought my heart-pieces closer and together we walked my world, now theirs. We ate 18 pounds of blueberries. We laughed. We parted with new paths woven between us.

I discovered a box.

Summer tumbled into autumn and soon the bright crunchy leaves became dank and moldering and slick underfoot. Outward turned inward. Not being a joiner — ever — I joined and joyed. I sang. I found a home, at least for now.

Now, inward, I sing. I joy. I raise silent lips in inner song, singing my heart into wholeness. I breathe and become one with my heartbeat, and with yours. I walk and feel aliveness in the dirt under my soles, in each sparkling raindrop on my face, in each leaf and sound and sigh. I touch hearts and they touch mine.

What do I wish for 2010? More. More of what comes next.

June 1st, 2009

Brilliance

Q: Does time really slow down when you’re in an accident?

A: Yes. Oh yes.

I bought a motorcycle. The whole idea originated at about the time I fell out of an airplane, when doing things that made my heart stop and that created the World’s Largest Sudden Outburst of Endorphins made a lot more sense. I left New Zealand with the conviction that above all else, I must procure a motorcycle license, and soon!

The class to get the license was sort of funny.

About two-thirds of the students already owned motorcycles, had been riding around illegally on them for years, maybe, and were just now getting around to the whole license thing. Why they didn’t just march down to the DMV and do it all for free is beyond me, but it may have been something to do with the little T-E-S-T and the fact that interestingly, in general, motorcycle riders don’t tend to be the sharpest knives in the drawer.

Ahem.

Yeah, so this class was mostly a lot of standing around (outside) listening to specific instructions on just what we were going to do (outside) when we got on the motorcycles that had been assigned to us (outside), turned them on, and rode around in a particular manner (outside).

It almost snowed that weekend, but not quite.  It did, however, rain.

In the classroom the night before they warned us about hypothermia. “It makes you stupid!” the instructor cackled. “You can’t think! If you get that cold, you shouldn’t be riding!” Inside the warm classroom, we chuckled knowingly at one another. WE would never get that cold. WE were taking the class that told us not to.

So, alternating standing with riding all that next day, eventually my shivering stopped.  Just like Mr. Hypothermia said it would.  And on the way home, all I could think about was getting into a scalding bath and being warm again.

Have I mentioned the huge temperature fluctuations in the hot water here?

Depending on how active the water heater has been lately, hot = anywhere from barely tepid to furnacelike.

This was a tepid day.

I did eventually warm up, but the whole thing brought home the fact that Them Thar Motorcycles Are Dangerous-like.

Still, I insisted on buying a motorcycle almost immediately.   Whereupon I promptly parked it in the garage, too scared to ride it much.  Then Matthew brought his helmet down, thinking he’d dust off his own ancient almost unused motorcycle license and see if he could ride mine.

Excuse me?

Yeah, that didn’t go over so well.  I hated that he seemed better at it than me (whose bike was this?) and that he offered to take me for a ride — behind HIM.  Nossir.

So, I got over the thing of being precariously and vulnerably perched on a machine that could kill me, and rode it.  Got really comfortable.  The idea was to ride it around town, pick up groceries (when not using a bicycle), and also be able to take it out on the open road.  Power between the legs.  So to speak.

Friday, it was beautiful here. Sunny, warm, just gorgeous.  So of course I hopped on and went around, drove down to the beach, drove up to a lake I hadn’t seen before, had a nice ride.  I planned out the whole rest of my afternoon: I had already been for a run in forest in the morning, so I thought a bike ride after I got home would be perfect.  It was so nice out.

Missed the turn onto my street.

It has happened before; there’s a blind hill just beyond the turn, and you can’t see oncoming cars until they’re almost right on you, so on the bike I’m a little shy.  Something about being blindsided while on the motorcycle and being crushed/run over by an oncoming car acts as a wee deterrent.  So — shit — here comes a car, I twist the throttle and go on up the hill.  Turning around, when I get back I don’t recognize my own street.  Sure, I never approach it from that side, why would I? Missed it again.

That’s okay, there’s another way to get there; I’ll just go around.

At the top of THAT hill, something happens there by the stop sign.  Time slows down.  I think about using my leg to keep the motorcycle from falling over, but I wonder because I’ve had issues with that hip before.  Maybe I’d get hurt.  But the decision is made for me, and I feel the entire weight of the bike crushing my foot, which inside its heavy boot is bent in a way I am pretty sure feet are not supposed to bend.  From there to laying under the bike yelling FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK I’m a little hazy.  Also the part about getting my foot and bruised crushed leg out from under it.

I do remember the guy from around the corner approaching me gingerly, not wanting to scare the crazy yelling lady, and not wanting his toddler’s ears to burn with so many repeat refrains of FUCKFUCKFUCK, and he helped me pick the 350-plus pound motorcycle up because I was pretty sure I was incapable of anything at that point.

I did ride it home.

I didn’t get the foot xrayed.  What’s the point?  I’ve always known when bones break.  How can you not know this?  I even once made a bet with my parents, so sure was I that my (other) foot was broken, and offered to pay the doctor’s bills if I was wrong.

I was not.

Plus, fun little indicators like PAIN and BRUISING and SWELLING and DIDIMENTIONPAIN are also a tipoff.

So this, happening a mere three days before I was supposed to move to a! new! house! just seemed Extra Ironic.  With sugar on top, and a cherry.

However, I have an arsenal that depends heavily on the strong conviction that energetic healing, even from afar, really works.

So tomorrow I move.  I can walk: slowly, carefully.  The pain went away almost immediately, once the Big Healing Honchos started working on it.  This from semi-excruciating to simply uncomfortable, in a few minutes.  And tomorrow two guys come and put my stuff into a truck that’s far too big for the amount of stuff I own and we (I) drive it to my new place, the one I went over and cleaned today.  This time tomorrow, new house.  (And no internet, but that’s a different story…)

Brilliant.

February 28th, 2009

Skydiving

Yeah, so I jumped out of an airplane the other day.

It’s well known than New Zealand is famous for bungy-jumping. When we got here there were countless airport brochures covered with alluring photos of smiling people about to hurl themselves to their doom. I thought about skydiving and it seemed sane by comparison—only a little daring like a walk on the foot-high barrier next to the path instead of on the path itself, rather than bungy-jumping daring of hurling yourself right off the cliff next to the path. I could do that.

“Karen’s going to go skydiving,” Matthew remarked to his mom right after we got here. (He had done it himself once before and felt no need to this time.)

She looked at me. “That’s expensive,” she said dismissively. So I ruled it out. Expensive. Not gonna do it.

We got off on our own finally last week, rented a car and headed northward to Taupo. Had little idea what was there besides a big lake and volcanic stuff underground. It was away and that was enough.  We stayed at a “backpacker’s,” like a hostel with a communal kitchen and gathering area. I chatted up some of the people there, from everywhere, it seemed, except New Zealand: the U.K. Nova Scotia, some Scandinavian country, etc.

“What’s the best thing you did here?” was my question.

“Skydiving!!”

The world tilted a little on its axis, and priorities changed. Plus, I am (apparently) immensely suggestible. Go on, tell me what I will like and I will believe you.

Skydiving.

So we went whitewater river rafting, addressing another of my fears (Fear A = Heights. Fear B = Drowning in Water), and it was fab. A high. Easier than I thought. Plus I did not fall out of the raft, a huge plus in my opinion.

That morning I made the reservation for skydiving later that day, for after the rafting, after consulting everyone else in the hostel. Unanimous. “Were you scared?” I asked them. “Of course! Best thing I ever did!”

Okay then.

This, by the way, was a Skydiving Upselling Moneymaking Machine Industry. In case I missed the point or any of the 12000 opportunities to buy merchandise/photos/videos/memorabilia. They wasted not a moment and had the whole thing choreographed. The process of Sell + Wait Around + Get Nervous Waiting + Can’t Change Your Mind Now + Get Ready + Jump + After Jump + More Selling of Things You Hadn’t Known Were for Sale + Pay for Everything You Agreed to Buy While Under Duress took several hours.

It still involved falling out of a plane though.

The ride up took 20 minutes, they said. It may have been five minutes or it may have been an hour, crammed butt to stomach into a small airplane with about 10 other people. I couldn’t count. I couldn’t think. Every few minutes the guy behind me, to whom I was attached by a system of clips and harnesses that I couldn’t see and only nominally trusted that even existed, would show me his gigantic-dialled wrist altimeter, indicating we were at 1000 feet, then 5000 feet, and on upward to 15000 feet (which didn’t even actually show on his altimeter that ended inconveniently at 10000).

Thousands of feet? Meant nothing. I was in the Zone, the Zone of Not Freaking Out.

Pretty soon—hours? days?—the guy behind me pushed me toward the open door of the airplane. This was not happening. Everyone else had disappeared (where did they go? I never saw them leave, actually). There was nothing else to do but surrender and let him push me out too.

Put your head back and curl your feet back. Banana.

My head is back and I am falling.  There is a reassuring weight behind me, reassuring only in the lightest sense. I am falling.

Falling.

Tap on the shoulder. Let go of the harness that is keeping you from (falling?) dying and put your arms out like you are (falling?) flying.

Can’t make sense of what I am seeing. My ears hurt, cold. My fingertips, cold. I begin to worry about my ears and their reaction to the slightest wind. This is way more than the slightest wind.

Falling.

Clouds? That’s clouds there, the clouds we flew through earlier. There they are.

Now through the clouds and there’s more reassurance. Greenbrownblue, colors swirling, moving so fast.

A tap on the shoulder. Something about a parachute. Suddenly vertical, swinging. Still can’t make sense of what I am seeing. I may have said “fuck.”

Not dead.

Swinging, angling around in stomach-churning circles, over the lake (OVERTHELAKEWATERDROWNING), swinging.

Flying.

“Relax,” the wielder of parachutes behind me says.

Falling.

This part should last longer, but there are parachutes far below, colorblips beneath my dangling feet (were they cold too? I can’t remember now), and there is a race, must catch up.

Hold your legs up, let me see you practice, noooo I just want to fly here forever, slowly, just gliding, enjoy the moment.

No, down.

Then, on the ground (that’s the ground? It feels so … solid), no longer tilting. There is Matthew, two cameras, now I am supposed to smile and look happy to not be dead.

Elation, of a sort.

What just happened?

Ten minutes later my whole body began to shake, and it took two days to hear properly again.  Every night since I have dreamed about the open door of that airplane.  I still don’t know what it looked like to fall out of it (eyesclosedeyesclosed) so I see it now in my dreams.

Still a blur in my mind, I don’t know what’s real. I have a line item to look at on my credit card statement. I have photos of me, so tiny, still swinging from brightyellow parachute in a red jumpsuit.

I have dreams.

Falling.

Fear, and moving through the fear.

Part of me suspects I made this up.