Thursday, January 31, 2008

learning to fly

What have you done for yourself?

I have fallen. But this time, intentionally.

My feet strike the beam as my hands push off. I raise my head, flick the fingers, move to the next skill as my heart gasps in relief.

5, 6, 7, 8. Wait, lift, twist. Okay. I stand above them, look at the wall and imagine it’s a crowd, know that I am as strong as the hands that clasp my ankles, know that although I do not know them well, I do not want to let them down.


I reach my hands to the sky. I look up. And I let myself fall.

I feel air, I twist, I land on my back. The way I was never supposed to when I walked into this room for another sport.


I'd begun thinking this year that just once, I'd like to know how it would feel to twist twice in the air. But I didn't know how that would happen, how the knee and limbs would be protected.

Nearly three years to learn a full from a full run, and now, ten minutes to twist a double from their hands.

I left last night and thought that I no longer need you to push me. I don’t know why I have allowed you to have that power: One hand in my hand and the other around my neck.

This is not your time.

I am busy battling someone else; I choose when to confront gravity and when to accept it. But always with a twist. I know you live, Gravity. But so do I.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Teotihuacan, January, 2008 A.D.

The smile's real, even with the sun in your eyes
and your breath lost after so many stairs climbed by so many before you -
who knew so much that you will never understand.

Monday, January 21, 2008

[More for me than for you]

Enternecida me tienes...

But not really.

I don't feel touched by anything right now. Cold, yes. Not hunger, tap water, jealousy, pain, intrigue, English (pues, maybe a bit), pressure, alcohol, fear, even gymnastics, even paper (my hand feels so slow, but I've written all along -- why are you heavy, hand, when my heart is not?).

I am touched by Mexico, every quote (every laugh-sobering sobremesa-error-talk of finding ourselves or finding our way through talking) those wonderful girls that I quickly became so close to, these pictures, laughing with Emeline across the table because she knows it's true and because I know she actually cares, Mike and Kelsey and Rachel and the real love of friends, ice in water, Jane Eyre, this calm and pervading peace as I look around and wonder, Where next?

I know I can at least offer the who and how (myself, my skill) and be patient - yet tenacious - in finding the where and when.

Because you see, I honestly don't know what to say about all of this. It was wonderful, incredible, inspiring, bewildering, frustrating, enlightening, encouraging -- and -- rarely frightening. I felt little fear. How about that? I was not so vulernable after all, little white girl wearing shorts in Tepoztlan. Of course the accent gave me away. Of course some spoke so quickly that all I could muster up from ten years of Spanish education was the polite request, "Repita, por favor?"

But as I finally felt validated with writing last spring, so I finally felt the same with Spanish. All of you forced it to be me: the interpretator, the listener and the speaker, the dictonary, the conjugator. Thank you for making me speak, make those requests, reply even in mentiras (there's another tale).

Maybe you were all correct all along -- that this Spanish thing, it will serve me well, that maybe that 4.18 within the major meant that I could apply -- and get by -- with the real speakers, even throw in a touch of Sor Juana or Marquez to show that I paid a bit of attention.

Well, two languages later and I still don't know what to say or think -- just know that these three weeks have changed my life and I must re-form myself around them, hoping all the while that I will never be the same again.