Friday, July 10, 2009

20 intense physical experiences

Another writing exercise we did this morning involved listing 20 intense physical experiences. (They suggested one end of the spectrum as giving birth so I didn't want to write that exactly but some things danced around it.) I wasn't sure if I was going to post it but I just wrote to Diane and Lyn since their names come up on it and so I thought I'd go ahead and post. This list gets a little personal so look away if you must (though it still has boundaries).

List is in no order except as I thought of things. But I thought of things I hadn't thought of in a long time. So I liked the exercise. It's amazing how the simple task of making a list like this brings such long-forgotten and such disparate things to mind.

There was more to it involving choosing one of them and doing something with it which I don't recall, but there was no time left for that this morning. (The list below doesn't have exactly 20.)

1984 or 1985, having to jump over a ditch because we were protesting at a nuclear power plant somewhere in Germany, after Tchernobyl - we had to jump over the ditch because the police were chasing us with tear gas and I was very scared to jump, I didn't think I could clear the ditch and I didn't want to jump, but everyone around me was jumping and going and I couldn't stay there. (I did jump, I didn't quite make it, so I had to scramble up the other side. I fell down just a little if I remember correctly.)

1984, the flight from Kinshasa to Lisbon (it ended up landing somewhere else because of fog but that's a separate thing) - I was sitting in a bulkhead seat with plenty of space for my legs but nowhere, absolutely nowhere, to prop them and so I just couldn't get comfortable in my seat, I was so tired and wanted desperately to sleep and the flight was so many hours long but I couldn't get comfortable. Nancy Allan was on that flight with me. Never in my life have I had such an uncomfortable flight.

Teufelssee, the day before yesterday, early morning, me and my naked body in the water, breasts floating along.

Three or four years ago, walking briskly around the track at the YMCA in Bloomington and finally breaking into a trot - wonderful, post-80-pound-loss, to jog/run again after surely about 20 years.

The instant after Max was born, when all the excruciating pain in my back stopped, stopped dead, instantly, the moment he emerged. Blissful lack of pain and presence of baby.

Leaning back on my elbows on Lyn's bed, being her pillow, while she gave birth to Theo basically on my lap, I was propping myself up so that she could lean back against me - I was bloody from the waist down myself and felt like I was really part of that birth!

Jogging through Berlin for 2 hours last fall. Felt like I could go on forever.

Sitting on the floor late one night in his living room, watching satellite TV with Stefan and watching him and feeling an aching attracting to him (late 1985, early 1986) - [it's OK, friends and family - it was momentary]

Sitting on the steps of Farnham Hall between his floor and mine with Andy Rapp and him tracing my face with his fingers, in the wee hours of the night (now why are they called the wee hours of the night?!) - this is 1978.

The Charleyhorse I got that sidelined me just 2 dances in at the homeschooling squaredance in Cambridge in 1995 that I'd been waiting for and looking forward to for months.

The spoonful of Nutella I had yesterday afternoon - sweet and cold and creamy and chocolate in my mouth.

Holding my baby Max, nursing him, holding him, dancing and nursing and holding him for hours.

Nursing my baby Felix in bed with a breast infection, horrible hard inflamed pain, orange juice to drink and a cold cabbage leaf and frequent nursing for relief and healing.

Before that, the first couple weeks of nursing Felix, cracked bleeding nipples, crying through every painful nursing. Then, discovering Lanolin and the blessed soothing relief!

The earthquake, Oakland, 1989, and the house just rolling, rolling, rolling.

Riding the ferry to work after the earthquake when the bridge and the BART were down. Riding below, the water at eye level, eating doughnuts and watching the choppy water. Later, riding home, standing abovedeck with Diane, somehow we were on the same ferry home from San Francisco, I remember standing on deck in the biting wind and the roar (what was roaring? the engine? the wind in our ears? I don't know) and talking about wanting to have babies. That was 1989. Max and Asa were born in 1990.

Mango sorbet.

Hamburg, 1981, at the Kirchentag (national church meeting) - my first time in Hamburg (I was living in Heidelberg) - we were standing in line for a reading by somebody very famous and the crush of people was such we could not decide our own movements. It was frightening.

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