Friday, September 18, 2009

Grounded and Injured

I haven't blogged in over a month - nothing to be done about that now, it's onward and looking forward now. I have all sorts of blogs-in-my-head that roll by, and all sorts of reasons not to go writing them down / typing them up - first it was that they were silly little spurts of things and I had some people down to get e-mail automatically when I posted, and I decided I didn't want to have their in boxes so spluttered and cluttered.

Then it was that I had tooooo much to write.

And now?! - now I have a big white clump of gauze on my left index finger and it's surprisingly in the way - not quite as bad as yesterday and the day before, when I had a very large multi-layer wrapping with a big fat immovable blue thing as the outer layer - not only could I not use the finger to type, but it also kept getting in the way and hitting other keys, and keeping it off the keyboard meant I couldn't quite reach the keys . . .

Ah well. The injury itself is minor, I was cutting a medium-sized cucumber with a very large knife and my smallish finger got in the way. So let's talk about more interesting things.

I wanted to write about being grounded in Bloomington and what grounds me, and even though I've been thinking about this for over a week, it is only this morning, as I sit here and type this, that I realize not only am I grounded here but that in my worst times in Berlin, grounded is exactly what I was not, and that when I was doing better, and then so very much better, I had just managed to ground myself there.

Here it seemed so easy and obvious from day one. On a very literal and immediate level, for one: leaving the house to walk outside is just a matter of opening the front door and walking out. Then I am on the ground, on the walkway, on the sidewalk, under the trees, in hailing distance of my neighbors, ready to hit the pavement for a walk or a jog. In Berlin it was just that much farther from inside the apartment to out on the street - via air-walkway, stairs, multiple doors, more stairs, walkways and high walls to, finally, a pretty narrow sidewalk. I grew to love it but this is just EASIER.

What is grounding, besides that? Well, my fellow middle-aged ladies, gathering daily at 7:45 at the corner of tree- and aqueduct-lined Southdowns and the park. Three to seven of us five days a week, some arriving on bikes, some on cars, some on foot, and as I walk down Southdowns towards the park in my twenty-pound vest I strain to see who's already there and generally can't see anybody, but miraculously as I arrive thinking OK, today's the day when there's nobody, suddenly - there comes Alex from the left from the parking lot, and there comes Sue in her trademark red sweater emerging from around the corner, from behind the trees, on her bike - and there comes Ellen on the right emerging from behind a post where she was stretching - and that was just today (in truth, Susan was with me so I knew I wasn't going to be alone, but Susan also had to leave right afterwards). Other days, Beth then drives up alongside me and slows down and waves and then goes to park and hurry over to meet us; and sometimes Jenny, if she hasn't been outside when I left my house with gorgeous black Maggie the dog, shows up as we all converge on the corner, at a run. And then the only problem is - how do we maneuver around town, so many of us, walking and talking - and how many conversations can we juggle, are we all in one, do we break into several, am I missing something over there, can we reconfigure? And we do, we manage, and by 9 a.m. we're generally all home again, having been out in the sunshine and air, having talked about kids and work and worries and enemies and e-mail and friends, about our bodies (oh, did I ever write once before about the fun we had walking around the campus of Indiana University talking loudly about middle-aged sex and feeling righteous about educating the student body???) - having seen the wind chimes and crystals hung from the trees along Southdowns (today it was a lone leaf hanging in absolute midair - the implied spider's thread was completely invisible) and baby Maksim out for his morning stroll on Papa Kon's chest and the apples available for the plucking just over the wall from Fritz and Leela's house, and the bright red chili peppers that appeared one day in a beautiful cluster out somebody's walkway and the next day the sign: help yourselves. (Just down the street from the U-pick'em herbs.)

That's grounding. Also video chats with my parents, Daddy stroking his long and ever-growing white beard with great pleasure, Mommy chipper in the middle of her miraculously short and relatively-easy-on-the-body post-lumpectomy therapy. And the occasional phone conversation with my busy but cheerful sister. And having the large boy home for a week between Berkeley and college, and sorting out decades' worth of games from the games cupboard, carrying furniture up and down the stairs, carrying books hither and yon, driving carloads full of things at a time to Goodwill, moving around in this house which is ours and despairing at the state of it but also feeling ready to change everything around.

I think I got off the track a little but these things really *are* grounding, when I lose my way (I did that yesterday for a while - no editorial work; hard to type; Max didn't need me when I was ready to help him and just as I was about to start on a project of my own he did; I was just off my rhythm and flustered and flummoxed and frustrated) - when I lose my way, it comes back down to: feet on the ground, move around, walk. I'm working the pedometer double time, I've got a book called the Step Diet that is both infuriatingly complex and incomprehensible and at the same time stunningly simple in a way, but mostly it's just given me the new push - I need to walk and walk I do.

More later, but it is grounding to write this. Imagining: maybe Erika or Anja will read it in Berlin, or Irene, or Kim, in Hamburg - or Ellen in Bloomington, maybe even Lisa in Toronto if she hasn't given up on me, surely Ruthy in Austin eventually. Love and greetings to you all - more shoutouts next time. Susanne and Sabine, Annette and Bianca - my Berlin walking and talking and play-reading buddies - hello to you! I'm keeping it set up that this goes out to you automatically for now, hope that works and hope it's OK. If I start blogging more like daily that might get annoying!


Lisa R-R said...

Sometimes one really needs to be in the right time zone, and to know how things work.
Sounds like it has been a very busy month, glad you're back.
(Zero danger of coming off my bookmark list, not to worry.)
Lisa in Toronto

hoping for better things said...

Hey Lisa, bless you for commenting and keeping me bookmarked. Some day I hope to lay eyes on the actual three-dimensional you!

elena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elena said...

I just must add that it is so fabulous to have you back on Bloomington ground with us, Marie, providing the inspiration to walk each week-day morning. I wasn't able to walk today (yet) and there's such an adjustment now, when that's the case. I'm looking forward to our experiment of "just walking" no matter the weather, into the colder months. It's very invigorating, on so many levels! (And my word today in the box below is a nice one: hedge!)

hoping for better things said...

Me too, Elena, and Amen to all of that! We missed you this morning but there's always a new day. Beth says there's a 5K Hoosiers outrun(walk) cancer tomorrow - we could do that??? And we can dance at Lotus tonight!