Just Skimming The Surface

I went walking on another golf course on Monday – Mount Elgin Golfers Club.  The owners of Tarandowah have bought it so I get to wander in two places.  Unlike Tarandowah, Mount Elgin has many trees, with a nice mix of coniferous and deciduous.  Plus about six ponds.  Tarandowah has none.

What especially enthralled me were the birds.  Canada geese were wherever water was, and they also enjoyed sauntering down the fairways.  They honked whenever I got close but didn’t take off.  Hopefully they sensed that I was a benign human being, and had no interest in scaring them.  They received a wide berth.

What I love about Canada geese is that they’re almost always in pairs.  I think we’re meant to have a partner in life.  I wonder what those couples talk about.  Probably the same stuff we do.

I walked the front nine and then came into the clubhouse for a beer.  Lindsay is one of the staff members and she asked me if I had seen any babies.  Sadly, no.  But I was on the lookout when I returned to the green grass.  And on hole 14 or so, under a weeping willow, there was the family, including four little fuzzballs. The parents were staring me down but I just wanted to see the waddling from afar.  So cute.  Lindsay smiled later when I told her.

Although I enjoyed the presence of the gooselets, another species was the star of the show for me.  Swallows, with tinges of blue on their wings.  There must have been fifty of them on the various ponds, and oh, can they fly!  They’d zoom about six inches above the water, making wild turns.  Occasionally, their beaks would gobble up an insectal morsel as the bod motored on at supersonic speed.  I just stared at the grace and athleticism.

I tried following the flight of one bird but that was a challenge,  what with so many streaking over the pond.  And I was left with the question:  “Do they ever land?”  Not that I could see.  What anaerobic fitness!  What air speed records!  What a rush for this fairly stationary human being.

It could be said that I come for the flying, not the golfing.  I’m glad the feathered ones are in my life.

Day Five: Wrong, Strong And Speedy

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.