I went to the dentist-- have I told you this?-- for the first time in almost three years. They scraped on my teeth with these sharp metal things. I mean, yeah, I knew they were going to do that. But I'd forgotten how uncomfortable it is. Don't call me a crybaby-- I recognize it's no root canal-- I'm just saying there is something sinister about the cavalier way they drag those pointy things across the intimate parts of your teeth. The fingernails/chalkboard effect. In the middle of what seemed like an exceptionally thorough scraping I realized that almost every muscle in my body was tensed-- neck, shoulders, legs, toes. Because of one metal point on my teeth. I had to consciously will my fists unclenched.
Later I went to yoga. Yeah, you read that right. For the first time ever. On the wall outside the wood-floored, naturally lit, sanskrit-inscribed yoga studio-- yes, the wall next to the cash register-- there is a poster with little photos of a dude doing, I don't know if all, but a heck of a lot of the yoga poses. Let me just tell you there's one where he's upside down, completely vertical, balancing on his head. Crazy. In my class of course we're nowhere near that, it's definitely toward the beginner side of intermediate, and still, I'm sweating, my muscles are shaking, and I'm thinking, This is supposed to be relaxing? And yet by the time I got to the end, lying on my back, I was so calm I actually dozed off for a few seconds.
I was thinking about this while I was home, trying to balance the contentedness of rest and the restlessness of sloth. Hope and worry dominating each other alternatingly, like a rhythm, like a heartbeat. The ebb and flow of the tides at Point Lobos. Like my vacation was a study in tension and release.
Then on the day I got home I remembered, with a wallop, that's just what regular life is anyway. And it's all right. In fact it's beautiful.