Mary says yoga is one of the most important milestones for her clients because they hate to be still. To relax. It’s the antithesis of addictive behavior. Stillness. Repose. Stretch. Breathe. Think. Listen to your heartbeat. To the breath move through your body. To your blood.
I am a woman of action. Stillness is not my natural state. I do my best thinking when I’m moving. That’s what I would have told you, anyway, but it’s not true. I’m at a desk now not in a field somewhere. I’m here corralling my thoughts into sentences. Letting them stretch and flex.
How do we live with ourselves? With our choices. With our pasts. What is it that helps us accept this world and our place in it? How do we find joy? How do we nurture one another? It starts with stillness. It starts in the quiet, at the center. I woke this morning and looked at her. Her delicate fingers. Her long hair wrapped as though it remembered the bun from the previous day. The little bump at the top of her nose that she hates and I find miraculous. I am different because I love her. I am different because she loves me. I am different because I am so much more myself than I have ever been. More comfortable. More accepting of my soft, bitter places and my sinew.
What I understand of love now is that it’s like prayer. It’s like devotion. Much of it is contemplative silence. Thinking. Kindness. Much of it is the way that I rest my hand on her hand while she’s sleeping and she twines her fingers with mine instinctively. In her sleep.
All these poems I’ve memorized fit along the curves of her body. We live in the world by accepting our vulnerability. Tender fractions that we are. Held together with our best intentions. With the furious way we love. You. I have chosen you. And when we are old, we will laugh at the hurry we made of our youth. The rush. At the ways we neglected silence as though, as though, as though action made us more daring.
“You have a librarian fetish,” she told me this morning.
Yes. Yes, of course.