Ok, so day one of the 14 days discipline challenge is over and wow! If today is any indication, I’m gonna kick so much ass!
I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm went off! Granted, there was a feline kafuffle outside my bedroom door, but whatever works. It seems as though the 2 kitty factions have decided that my room is the last neutral territory in the house and every now and again there is a scuffle over who has rights to the area. But squabbles aside, it got me out of bed, if only to mediate the melee and peer outside to see a brilliantly sunny imbolc day. How disappointing. Only because when St. Brigid’s day dawns fair, shadows can be easily seen, groundhogs can be frightened into burrows and winter can last a whole lot longer. To be honest, I don’t think it makes a difference around here, it’s stupid cold until may sometimes. But no matter. Ran downstairs, plugged in my mp3 action and rocked the hula, some free weights and some hardcore cardio action before breakfast!
Over breakfast I realized how fitting it would be that I should start such a regimen on Feb. 2. Pagans call it Imbolc, christians call it candlemas, the dudes over at Gobblers’ Knob (seriously.) call it groundhog day. To quote the eternal Miss Joplin, “as we discovered on the train, tomorrow never happens, man. It’s all the same fucking day, man.”
Whatever you call it, halfway between winter solstice and spring equinox is today. It’s a day of cleansing fire ritual, a great day to start a fast, a great time to reflect on the winter passing and ponder the future spring. And so here I am halfway between old habits and new. It’s the time of year I notice it’s light when I get up in the morning, regardless of the fact that I was getting up at the same time last week. It’s the time when animals start to give birth (Pearl is due in a couple of weeks, I think..she’s a goat). If I was in the west I would go walking in the trees, looking for snowdrops and early crocuses. Here, not so much. I think I might find snow and…no, that’s it.
I figured since it was a day of beginnings as much as middles I should start reading Tropic of Cancer. How amazed was I to discover that Tropic of Cancer could be retitled “Trish’s adventures as a broke-ass bohemian in Paris from the point of view of a man with slightly more sex with prostitutes.” At times it was even creepy. The first time I went to Paris, and ran out of money within the first month and stayed for 4 more and depended on friends, my wit and charm to get by. When I had nothing but time and nowhere in particular to be and so spent days wandering the city, seeing all aspects of Paris, even places friends who live there aren’t aware of. Coming into contact with an essential part of her identity and finding a common ground. Granted, his writing is a little more surrealistic than mine tends to be. I have a gift for run on sentences that he doesn’t seem to dabble in. He is infinitely more visual than I am, but I see his influence in my writing, by way of other writers who have come between us that I have read before. Kerouac is a big one of course. But if, when told at age 17 that I resembled Miller, I had sought him out and read him then, I wonder if I would have seen the parallel? Especially since it would be 12 years from that time before I would find my way to Paris to indulge myself as an expression of iconoclastic artistry. Because that had never been done before. Do I see the parallel in our adventures because I’m looking for them? Perhaps. I prefer to think it’s because it applies. I was right about his impatience as well. Mind, I’m only a short way into it, but indeed, I believe I have come to him at exactly the right time, for reasons I’m not quite ready to expound upon now.
I’ve had some hesitation through the day, as to making it a mandatory activity to sit and play the piano. There’s nothing like taking the joy out of something than to have it be imposed upon one as a duty. I compared it to the writing style of John Steinbeck, who wouldn’t just sit at the typewriter when inspiration or the mood took him. He treated it as a 9-5 job and plugged at it every day. Which might be why his stories always seem a little sad to me. Sitting there, looking out the window at a blue sky out of reach. Trapped inside with the characters who embody those parts of humanity that are dark and sad and desperate. Although it could be attributed to the time he lived in as well. It wasn’t called the great cheerfulness, after all. At any rate, around 8:15 I sat down at the piano, I know because I looked at the clock and determined that I should not get up before 9. I pulled out all my sheet music (which I tend to pack everywhere I go, likewise my tango shoes, because you just never know) and there’s a lot of it and a good portion of it I’ve never even played. Instead of automatically playing the familiar, I started with some old jazz songs I’ve wanted to learn for a long time. Next time I looked at the clock? 10 pm. I played for almost 2 hours! I didn’t even notice the time go by! It wasn’t a chore at all!
We’ll see if I’m still singing (playing) the same tune by day 4. So far, so good though.
And super big yay for the light coming back. It’s been dark long enough. Don’t get me wrong, I have no objection to darkness, in fact there’s many aspects of it that I feel more akin to than any light, but it’s nice to have balance. Happy Imbolc!
I went to yoga that day and our teacher spoke about Imbolc….the time between the dark and the light. Right in the (approximate) middle of the winter and spring solstice. Those pagans…anything to have a party :) I was walking to work this morning at 6.30 and thinking to myself that it should be light considering we are heading into spring…apparently it was not to be so. It’s amazing how much time we spend ‘fearing’ the dark when it’s the dark that actually allows us to see the light….