Cue the TV theme song from your favorite cheesy Western. It wasn’t a run but I got back on the trail this weekend. Yesterday I completed my first hike since the terminal knee injury. You’ll remember that long hikes replaced my long runs when my heart asserted herself and demanded better choices. Long hikes on the weekend were my mainstay until that spectacular wipe-out while turning a corner on a short neighborhood run. The resulting knee injury reduced me to no hikes. I’ve missed them.
Endless loops around the track and through my neighborhood (along with copious amounts of yoga) have restored the knee, so long hikes are back! And just in time for the annual return of Horrid Arkansas Humidity (HAH). And the scourge of a bumper crop of ticks and mosquitoes because our winter wasn’t cold enough. The knee held up well and I managed to disengage the ticks before they compromised my blood supply. I wasn’t so lucky with the mosquitoes, but more than a few who gouged me lost their lives for it.
I celebrated at the rest stop above the waterfall by playing barefoot in the cold creek. A bumper crop of mutant toe-killing crawdads kept me in the shallow end. Every time I threw a rock or brandished a stick they ran away but came back with with their angry big brothers. I retreated. They won the day.
I guess in the frenzy to a) prevent a toe amputation that would spill my blood in the water and attract worse than craw-mutants, and b) not fall on the slime coating the rocks and thereby sustain further hike-threatening injuries, I must have shaken my phone. The last time I was playing with Peaco I turned on the “shake to change” feature on the camera, which randomly mixes camera lenses, flash, film, and light leaks unpredictably. I didn’t notice until I tried to take a celebration selfie after getting safely reseated on terra firma with all ten toes intact. This is what I got:
Not to be irreverent but it reminds me of the snapshots my dad brought back from his tours in Vietnam. Minus the Rock Star hair flower, of course. Cheap cameras in the 1970s couldn’t do any better than grainy, blobby, scratchy, blurry, pale/dark, greenish, grayish weird and often spooky. Forty-five years later we pay extra money to have our sophisticated phone cams fake crappy snapshots. What a time to be alive, folks; and by that I mean old enough to remember the real thing.
The rest of the weekend looked like this:
I’d like to especially highlight the fact that when The Chef took the fountain apart to clean it, he put it back together crooked. And now I can’t look at it without seeing a penis. Okay, so maybe a penis wearing a tutu. You can see it better bigger:
So there I am at sunrise, having coffee, observing Morning Prayers, telling myself to clear my thoughts but all I can think about is the gurgling penis water, and how even if I close my eyes it is flowing through my mind. And I hear it peeing clear water with pennies in it. Zen AF, y’all.
But seriously, this is why we practice meditation rather than try to master it. Because the world is full of crooked penis water and the only reasonable response is to let it be.
It is impossible to resist and meditate at the same time. You know that, right? Why not appreciate the shift of perspective? Maybe it’s not a distraction. Maybe it’s a prompt from the Universe. Roughly 51.9 percent of the world’s human population bears a penis. Roughly 100 percent of the time I regard the penis as either a sex organ or a utilitarian means to pass urine, which means my mind has narrowed to receive the image of a penis in only two contexts. Which likely means I do that with lots of things and probably lots of people, which makes me sad.
I’ve got this brain that has so many magical and astonishing functions. Why am I only using a few of them? Habit? Laziness? Conditioning?
Facets of my consideration become eroded by too much literal context. Maybe a random phallus in a fountain isn’t so random. Maybe it was begging to be seen. Maybe there was no way I wasn’t going to see it, because a writer’s imagination thrives out of context. And let us be honest here; nothing gets our attention faster than exposed genitalia.
Now that I’ve written about it The Chef will probably go fix it and then it will be lost. It will return to being a fountain who for a few days lived in my imagination as a penis with a higher purpose.