Only Human

It was cold that evening and I remember how the body could flow, twist and bend – something that seemed to have been blanketed by an extreme chill tightness that settled deep into my legs and lower back. Veins and arteries had become frozen streams upon which fatigue and hopelessness would skate; fortunately the ice wasn’t that thick and they were forbidden from daring feats on the top thin frozen surface. I had banned them from summer sports years ago – tennis courts shuttered to undesirables and quaint croquet matches and pims cups reserved for more productive team players.

Yet like the streams of my childhood which I deemed magically crystalline in their icy incarnation, so blood still flowed to the forests and tangle of limbs, muscle and tissue. I was functioning, yet trapped. My movements became stiff but not still for flowing water never just stops until it ceases to be, evaporated and expired or halted harshly by extreme cold. I’d learned to somehow craft a shelter protective enough against either unpleasantness, but inside, I was still only human.

In that warm room, the first hints of a new season began to appear; limbs uncurled and followed the soft voice in that yogic dance that was, after all, punctuated by a laugh, a sigh, the occasional crack of ice breaking and blood flowing through with wild abandon. We were all only human, of course, and that guidance and skill led us through the warmth and revitalization of each breath, and the expiration of all things superfluous to existence. I rediscovered that my feet were not blocks and my fingers could calmly grip and balance in ways that allowed the silent, still tree-like postures to be imbued with the aura of stately calm that only the ancient oaks can emit.

I felt taller. I returned so something – some place which was only hinted at these cold days but the tiny extension of evening light; no more than a bluishness in the sky, but more than the coffin-like pre-solstice dark. I walked, outside again but the flow and its implied glow of summer wove around my head and I aimed to walk across the cold earth, mentally teleporting myself to a similar scene much earlier in the year, but with warmth and love and light. But this was not to be, as suddenly the ground was shifting and tilting, so slowly like it wanted to take me into its embrace. I slid, foot not connecting with earth, lower leg, then thigh and back and arm slamming the ice. The sky was above me. The ice at my back. My hat flew off and I looked around me at the silent, inky park. Heart and heat thrumming from deep inside I started to laugh, and laugh and laugh, the sound booming into the silence. I was warm and the air was cold and faintly, I heard the crack of ice in the distance.

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