Yesterday I entered my martial arts studio at 7:30am. At 5:00pm I hobbled out (to be explained) with the black sash that I had just earned.
But the story is not that simple, as is usually the case. In early 1994 I first entered this studio. By late 1997 I was one test away from black. And then I moved to Tucson for a new job. I kicked around down there but didn’t like the systems or the instructors. So I went on with life. Raising kids, having horses, entrepreneuring, volunteering, much like what everyone else does as they watch time pass.
And then I had my Big Meltdown (BM) which has led to this Driveabout. Roughly 3 years ago I decided to restart my martial arts practice. I called up my old instructor (Si Gung) and he agreed to work with me, which meant I studied at home and once a month I drove down to Salt Lake City for lessons. Not optimal, but I had a very un-Zen like goal of getting that black, because, how many folks (especially my age) can make that claim. Further, your body does need to keep moving and think of my martial arts as Yoga on super steroids.
My style is very eclectic and thus challenging. My “manual” has over 80 pages of choreographed moves that I am supposed to be able to execute at any time. There are many more that (seemingly) never got written down. We also practice locks, pressure points, grappling and meditation. The good side is the mental exercise and discipline, balance, control and overall great shape (yes I do have strong abs). The bad side is I do get hurt. A year and a half ago my knee got hurt during a group lesson. I wouldn’t say that it is fully healed yet, but close. And then this:
The reason I hobbled out of the studio yesterday is because sometime during the test I broke my foot. Yes, it did somewhat interfere with my performance, but I persevered. But that is not anything compared to what my mates did. They literally carried me through parts of the test. It is hard surviving one of these tests on your own. But they were lining up to help me when it was needed. Awesome. Still brings tears to my eyes. Thank you.
Is donning this belt, black as night
Cause of any concern and fright?
Is it imbued with mystical power?
Or proof of work, hour upon hour?
5 animals provide the needed influence.
Struggling to find the elusive confluence.
Over and over, repeat and repeat.
Striving for that really deep seat.
Sweat and toil prove all their worth
For every effort put in the search.
It really does come down to pride.
A skill no longer able to hide.
That belt is not worn to say,
Do me no harm on this day.
Instead it is there to attest,
Someone trying to be their best.
A few random thoughts:
The clock is not hard to see in the dark.
But, the numbers are much too small.
Watch some TV.
Read a poetry book.
Is it called insomnia
when you are awake in the arms of another?
Title: Camp Fire
How intoxicating a good camp fire is.
It frees the imagination, energizes the soul.
It inspires, relaxes, cooks.
Does it matter how it was made?
Gather a bunch of wood, stuff in a bunch of paper,
douse with a bunch of fluid, apply match.
Carefully construct with lint, small kindling,
larger kindling, cause spark, nurture flame.
Carefully add layers. Insure ventilation. Build upon success.
To the child with the marshmallow stick, anticipating s'mores;
To the teenagers holding hands, anticipating kisses;
To the adults with smiles, anticipating life;
Do the fires differ?
So, I was hiking in the Tucson foothills.
Strong greens, bright rocks, hardy plants.
In fact, the plants are armed; spikes, thorns, barbs.
Hiking in shorts is not highly recommended.
While still on the trail, I had to avoid contact from intruders.
But that only encourages them.
Further and further they encroached.
As if they owned the world.
But they don’t and when some line is crossed
They get cut back, kicked back, stomped back.
That has to hurt.
Wouldn’t it be better if they just stopped at the edge?
It has been a number of years.
I am just passing through.
The sharp edges have softened.
Items have been rearranged.
It is the same, but similar.
But it is no longer real.
Memories, dreams, wishes blend
With tears, bricks are made
Hopefully a door was included in the plans.
Hopefully moving forward is less painful
Than moving back.
Moving keeps the oxygen flowing.
With the Drive about to start, I need to clean up these back pages.
On Match you can send a “wink”. The recipient knows that you are interested but that you lack courage to just write a note like “hi”. Why would you do that?
Anyway, in response to one I received I wrote back:
That slight closing of one eye,
was not due to a solitary fly.
Was there too much grit in the air?
Or, perhaps some reflected glare?
No, it was from no other sensations
than everyone's wish for new relations.
Oh, this is a good story.
I actually worry about interacting with other writers while on-line dating.
Why? What if they don’t like my material. Or worse, what if I don’t like theirs? My social skills still need improvement. The following is an example of what not to do. A lady shared a poem with me. Truly, I didn’t like it, but I didn’t outright say that. Instead I said her poem inspired me to write:
You can have some,
But is too much really bad for you?
Sugar and sweet is not its best form.
It does go well with low lights, music and red wine.
You can use it to celebrate,
But it comes in handy on those down days.
Brought to you, it's a big favor.
Given to others, it's a great gift.
In (not much) time she would get angry with me.
And then I wrote another ditty, purely from the content of a profile. I love doing these and I love profiles that have enough content to inspire these. Can you imagine the inspiration of being around her a lot? Well, keep imagining, she didn’t respond.
Hot air balloons launching at dawn.
Little fuzzy cygnets following the swan.
Winter sleigh ride in New York City.
A ball of twine entangling a kitty.
Fireworks exploding to gasps and glee.
Aruba's pink sands framing the sea.
Wonders come in many forms and sights.
Wonders are everywhere causing delight.
On the road again.
This time it is for 9 days in Salt Lake City.
The elevation at my kung-fu studio is 4450′. The elevation of where I live is 2287′. Not a great big difference, except when you get invited to a black belt test. And that test will cover two days. And I not only intend to survive the experience, but pass. I thought I would come in to town early and get acclimatized.
Yes, I am staying at a (different) Airbnb place.
My Sister In Law passed away last summer from a very long and sometimes successful battle with cancer. If I’m lucky I will live more years than she did, but I doubt I will ever live better. I wrote her this, which she was able to read.
You live large.
Larger than me.
But because of you
I live more than I would.
Is shared by all.
Around at our start
And there when we depart.
By your efforts.
Little bell ringing.
Listen for the singing.
Not anything can take
What we will celebrate.
You are here.
You will never leave.
But peace you will achieve.
On a previous (short)(for me) drive I wrote:
I was pulling into a rest area next to a town in the middle of nowhere.
My apologies to the locals.
They think it is the center.
I know better. And so does that electric guy.
Standing sentinels are now guarding the place
where I sometimes get “Good Country Grub”.
And it has always been good.
I’m looking at these pillars of electrons and
wondering if I am seeing the future or the past.
I was following behind a truck last night.
It was carrying a fellow truck, very similar looking.
Who must have been important because there were flashing lights
on the back. Two of them.
I could tell those lights were part of the mother truck,
but they weren’t coordinated.
Not coordinated, in the way that if you watch long enough,
for a brief period they flash at the same time.
But that’s silly. Who stays in back of a truck long enough
to see them catch up with each other.
What are they doing, checking each other out?
My god, this is the computer age, keep them apart.
Sitting on the Continental Divide
Reading a sign that says – Elevation 6870 feet.
It is a clear night, no moon.
The stars are so bright I can see the remains of the rain clouds.
The temperature is 55 now, was 95 before the welcoming rain.
I can see the other clouds, clearly.
What’s that – a shooting star?
What’s that – a grizzly?
About this divide,
something happens on one side of it
that doesn’t happen on the other.
I walk back and forth, back and forth.
I don’t feel the difference.
Maybe I’m too close to the problem.
I’ve said that views are better, seeing them with you.
But is that true?
I look up at the deep darkness, so shot through with lights.
If you were here, would I see it as darker, with more twinkles?
Or would I see it as less, because you are distracting me?
Title: Icicles too
Yesterday, you caught my attention
With your clear, sparkling personality.
Today, you look clouded and cold.
I bet if I wait long enough
You will just melt in my arms.
Oh please, just stop with the drama.
Can’t we just go to some sunny beach