I woke up bleary-eyed this morning and recalled a horrible story I’d heard a few days ago. A man was found dead in his Cuba hotel room, cause unknown. His sister flew down from Canada, and was taking a light plane to her final destination when it crashed, killing everyone onboard. So sad. I had thought yesterday I’d write about this tragedy but then I became enthralled with a triangle. Now we’re one more day removed from the accident and I don’t want to break my rule about having my writing stay in the present.
All these muddled thoughts came out of me as I rolled in bed. I imagined writing the story. But I couldn’t remember it. Confused, I realized that I couldn’t even remember the death and plane crash happening. I tried to bring forth my cognitive capacities in the shower … but nothing came. My brain made it up! Nobody died.
What a fascinating organ of the body. Tricking me like that. Creating a dream that felt so real. I’m going to have a good talk with this brain of mine.
After lunch yesterday, I looked at myself and saw that some energy had returned. Maybe I could strength train. It had been a week since I’d lifted weights. So off I went to the gym in the village beside my hotel. A hot walk. But such ecstasy when I opened the door to a flood of air conditioning. I sat a bit and let it flow over me. Guess I’m just not a tropical flower.
Since food was a very recent memory, I decided to do yoga first. What a marvel to stretch slow and easy, sometimes feeling my vertebrae settle in. My left hip has been tight for as long as I can remember and my work with it felt just right. What sacrilege that I ignored stretching until well into my thirties. (And strength training until well into my sixties!) Now I was lying on my back with my arms out to the sides. My head goes left and my legs right. Oh sweet twisting motion. A transcendent human being would no doubt just be revelling in the present, but I have to admit I was thinking golf swing.
Now for the machines and free weights. I’ve memorized the terms so I can sound authoritative: leg press, leg extension, torso twist (golf again!), tricep extension, bicep curl, pectoral, omni raise and hammer curl. What a hunk of muscle I am.
I had to figure out the subtleties of the machines since there were differences from home. Let’s see … one kilogram equals 2.2 pounds. It was all a part of the process and I enjoyed being “on the mat”, a martial arts phrase praising the virtues of simple participation in the act, with no performance thoughts intruding (except for sometimes).
[Interlude: It is so hot today with virtually no breeze. I’m exercising my digits in the shade, fortified with coffee, but I’m sinking slowly in the west. I thought part of my title was “Strong”. Oh well, Bruce. Keep going.]
Aided by my superstar headband, I was giving ‘er. Not quite the weights I was using at home but close. On some machines, the last few reps were tough but I turned on the fierceness to get the job done. Waydago, guy! Air conditioned sweat was pouring off me and I knew I was pretty much the king of the world.
Today, the heat-filled weakness has returned but my path is clear. I want to be strong for the present and the future: climbing stairs, walking eighteen holes, making love.
Two hours before sunset, I was on the beach, without my Speedo. No, I’m not talking nudity here. Just happy to be in the shade wearing t-shirt and shorts. Small thoughts percolated in my head. “You’re here for a beach vacation, Bruce. Get tanning.” “Real men are brown.” “Dance down the shoreline.” In the here and now of yesterday, I said no to them all.
I was under a thatched roof that had to stretch a hundred yards, affording a clear view of the water and wildlife. Animals fitted out in skimpy bikinis drew my immediate attention. Some local species, no doubt. But soon my gaze lifted to the gulls flying by. Heading to the right, my elevated friends were bucking a hurricanal headwind. They were staying close to my structure to cut the breeze some. I wondered at the wings and muscles working furiously. The birds had their own gym, with no membership fees.
The coolest, though, was right to left. Gulls blasted by at warp speed, their wings folded back. Oh my goodness … one of the wonders of the world. They took turns doing a sprint in front of me and I was the better for it. I celebrated the joy of the world.
Right now I’m withering in the shade. But the fronds of the palm trees across the garden from my writing spot have just started to stir. Yesterday the dance was rich and full, arms waving in a glorious flow. If that’s not to be today, maybe I’ll retreat to my air-conditioned room after I upload this blog post in the lobby. Hey … sometimes retreat is just what the doctor ordered.