Best of 1874 Prose

Part III: Where I wrestle with the ocean

What I did next was surprising, in retrospect, and wholly self propelled. I had mistaken my soul stretching into my body for and end in itself.

We moved from the concrete and restaurants of Penn Quarter to a high rise in Courthouse. I had not realized how much I missed trees and grass and seeing other people living lives outside of work.

Edouard Manet, "Breakfast Luncheon on the Grass" (1862-1863).
Edouard Manet, “Breakfast Luncheon on the Grass” (1862-1863).
I found a small yoga studio I could walk to. It felt cramped and shabby after the Chinatown gleam.  I was pissed all the time with that constant low level irritability of the smug. Often at my keyboard and mouse; I thought they slowed me down. I wanted to be faster and better. I didn’t have time for much and I didn’t suffer fools.

Edgar Degas "A cotton office in New Orleans" (1873).
Edgar Degas “A cotton office in New Orleans” (1873).
In many ways, I was no longer suffering because I had big plans. And, those big plans were so big and shiny that they lit up the moment even from the future. Like stars. Except that stars are really far away and the light we see may be from a source that is long dead. But, I didn’t think much about things like this then.

Edgar Degas "Musicians in the Orchestra" (1872).
Edgar Degas “Musicians in the Orchestra” (1872).
My yoga practice was like the occasional lifting of the lid on a steaming pot. The lid never came off for good, though, and the pot was always boiling. I gravitated towards the incredibly physically challenging practices. The studio was packed for all these classes. One day I was a little late for class and there was no room for me; I think I may have cried. I craved the practice. I would throw myself head long into the open sea and swim as hard as I could, no matter that I’d be buffeted and beaten back by the waves, that I was unwittingly underwater half the time and swallowing big gulps of air the rest, that my legs and feet would cramp unrelentingly by the standing poses at the end of practice. No matter that each time I’d get spit back out on the shore, salty and achy, but satisfyingly still from the utter exhaustion. For those few hours after a practice, I would be too tired to hate myself.

Theodore Gericault "The Raft of Medusa" (1818-1819).
Theodore Gericault “The Raft of Medusa” (1818-1819).
The light of the stars was cold and provided no comfort. The source was, after all, light years away. I was stuck in an endless pool that I had convinced myself was the ocean.

Edgar Degas "l'Absinthe" (1876).
Edgar Degas “l’Absinthe” (1876).
This series of short essays was inspired by Why I Rarely Say Namaste. The works of Manet (1832-1883), Degas (1834-1917) and Gericault (1791-1824) are all in the public domain.


I write abecedarian sequences

2 replies on “Part III: Where I wrestle with the ocean”

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