dreaming in the shadows of the Sleeping Maiden

Mt. Tam glimpsed from the parking lot of Asher Clinic, Marin Country Mart, Larkspur

In the adjacent cubicle, the man, who I judge to be middle-aged by the sound of his voice, is describing his symptoms to the physical therapist. He talks about the pain that hounds him when he is standing on his leg. He goes to great lengths to describe his fitness routine that is a panoply of muscular feats: skiing in winter, in addition to rowing, road and mountain biking, training on the elliptical, lifting weights. But no running, he says. So, he continues, he doesn’t understand why his ankle is now getting in the way of his walking.

My physical therapist and I exchange a look and almost burst out laughing at the same time. I have just finished a similar soliloquy about how the pain in my back makes walking and standing at times nearly impossible. But not when I am spinning, or out biking, or training on the elliptical or climbing stairs, or … well, you get the picture.

She has been trying to tell me for weeks now to ease up. I’ve must have had my ears full of wax, because to me that sounded like she was telling me to cease. All of which had me terrified and desperately trying harder, as if the only way to move was to go from 0 to 60.  Which is fine, when you are 20. Once you get closer to 60, though, you are better off going at 20, if you want to keep going.

She works for a long time on one set of muscles that have gripped my spine, as if hanging on for dear life. And in a way they have. Their grip the only way to get me to relax about exercise and so ensure their safety.

Which made me think: the daily rush here to post, what is that doing to my imagination that wants to run wild, up and down the slopes of the mountain to chase new visions?  Are my words getting a little less flexible, the prose more rigid, tightly wound around the spine of each day? But then, writing is not the same thing as riding… Or is it?



  1. Deke #
    July 12, 2012

    Maybe the answer is to ride your bike on the mountain. Perhaps a nice change of pace would be to absorb what Mt. Tam has to offer by visiting some of its most enchanting views. One suggestion: Dad O’Rourke’s Bench.

    • July 12, 2012

      A change of pace that could help me get over the fear of biking on trails downhill, perhaps… But more seriously, my back issues had me moored quite a bit. Some days simple walking was a great effort and hiking totally out of question. I’ll check out that “bench” soon, though – one way or another 🙂

      • Deke #
        July 13, 2012

        It can be challenging on the trails but there are also roadside options if you prefer a more solid surface. Best bet is to take it easy and let your body guide you to what’s best and take care of yourself. Like others, I would miss your daily dispatches.

  2. Jean #
    July 13, 2012

    I don’t think writing is completely analogous to physical exercise and I rather hope you won’t ‘ease up’ here, Maria. It’s been making me feel very happy and excited to see how the daily photo practice has brought you back to writing and the beautiful, intelligent patterns of your words back to us.

    Sorry to hear about your back. I’ve suffered this a little bit in recent months for the first time ever – ow! It’s horrible, and also very intriguing in how clearly it’s related to emotions, how alive it is, how it ‘grips’ the spine…

    • July 13, 2012

      Thanks for the comment Jean. I am going to try my best not let my words be gripped by habitual bents. It’s been quite the challenge, the daily posts, but I am still up for it. Luckily, it take a different backbone to keep moving here 🙂

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