Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hot Mindfulness

There's hot, and then there's hot like my grandfathers remember. They were pre-A.C.

One of my grandfathers told me stories of working in Pittsburgh in the heat of the summer, in a three piece suit, in a building had only fans. He was a patent lawyer. My other grandfather, he'd say, "You don't know from hot. Summers it was so hot, my family slept out on the fire escape it was so hot."

Compared to these sweating men, my ancestors, I've got no homeostasis. I'm a post A.C., Generation X weakling, mewling when the thermometer goes way up. I would never wear a three piece suit in August, it's an absurdity, like British cream tea in India, with caravan of saucers. "Why did you do that?" I asked my grandfather.

Why ever be uncomfortable, if you don't have to be? Because sometimes you will be uncomfortable and there will be no choice: call it aging, or illness or something tiny, like grit in your shoe. To be a little uncomfortable, to work with an edge, is the way to learn about edges, and there are many of them.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I'm not a pray-er or a meditator, but I'm thinking the time is ripe for me to become one or the other, and to have a mantra. Not just any old one: "lotus" or "peace" or "love thy neighbor." Those are good. But I need something new, something jazzy and effervescent like "bubble machine" or "clandestine."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Horse Racing

My grandmother got me in to Triple Crown horse racing. I remember eating popcorn with her on that first Saturday in May, watching the Kentucky Derby. And she and I knew it was the most exciting two minutes in sports.

Then comes the Preakness. Long gone were the hats and Southern grace of the Kentucky Derby and far in the future was the Belmont Stakes' faint air of aristocracy. Here at the Preakness we have we have the manimal, Kegasus. It's less about the horses and more about the...fillies.

It's supposed to edify us, Baltimore, to host the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Horse racing is the definition of "sprezzatura," seeming ease, feigned artlessness, making the terribly difficult look like a breeze. It has an ugly underbelly, with drugs, inbreeding, and mistreatment, but when it comes to watching from the rail, all you see is a pure rare form of manimal beauty.

We watch and learn from the pounding horses running the homestretch and the jockeys hanging on for the trip of their life, what it means, despite all the odds, to have heart.