I know, I know, it sounds all New Agey and what-not, but it's the absolute truth. There aren't that many times that I'm glad to have the alarm shatter my dreams at 6:15am. This morning was one of those times.
The sun was just rising over the Pusch Ridge, shoving the clouds out of its way, as I walked down the driveway to collect the newspapers. When you show up 350 days every year you are entitled to be a little pushy. The clouds didn't stand a chance. But the time I'd slurped my yogurt, filled my water bottle and attached my yoga mat to my light hiking pack the sky was blue and the air smelled like fall.
This may not seem like a big deal to those of you reading this where the leaves are turning and sweaters are being worn. But here in Tucson our temps topped out at a balmy 850 yesterday, and we were all in shorts at Mr. Crayola's birthday lunch this afternoon. I miss the smell of leaves burning (something that is lost to our children and grandchildren) but more than that I miss the crispness in the air. We have dry winds stirring up the dust and the allergens, but it's not usually cool enough for a sweater or long sleeves. Getting into The Schnozz for my drive to the trailhead I turned off the air conditioner and opened the windows and the sunroof. I was going to feel the Fall... at least until I got on the highway.
The David Yetman Trail is where I'll take you if you want to walk and see the saguaros, and you want something more exciting than pavement but you don't really want to hike. About 30 minutes in from Camino de Oeste (yes, it's on the west side of town.... but there's also one that's further east.... don't ask... it's a Tucson thing) lies the ruins of a house. Mr. Bowen built it for his wife, whose asthma improved after they moved to the desert. The concrete floor and the brick framing for the doors and windows and fireplaces are all that remain, but that's enough. We weren't on a strenuous hike. We were walking into the wilderness to practise yoga.
There were 5 of us and Mattie-the-Yogi this morning. We only got lost once, but we rescued ourselves and continued onward, through the saguaros and beneath the warplanes flying into and out of Davis Monthan AFB. The creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) was wet enough to give off its peculiar scent if you crushed a leaf or two in your palm. After walking for just long enough, we saw the ruins.
Walking in single file through a window opening, we looked down at the earth, and then, coming to the doorway, we looked up and out at an endless vista of green and blue and rolling hills and harsh mountains and I was one with the universe.
Mattie-the-Yogi at the Bowen House
Laugh if you want to. It's really okay. I had my moment and I'm willing to be smiled at.
Unfurling our mats in two straight lines (like Madeline) we saluted the sun and were scolded by a towheet who seemed to be quite annoyed with our presence. Downward dog had never looked so wonderful; as I gazed behind my shins I saw the Santa Catalinas, upside down and fabulous. Imagine the opposite of inhaling inside an airplane; that's what I was feeling. Mattie-the-Yogi is big on incorporating the breath with our movements. We send our breath to our achy places and our weakening places and we use it give us strength and power and length and when the molecules that race into your nostrils are composed of desert smells and morning sunlight well then there you have it - my bliss. I was outside, with people I liked, using my body and thinking about nothing and everything. The temperature was perfect and there was enough breeze to keep the little flies away from our twisted and balanced selves. Bliss. Absolute bliss.
The walk back from the practise is a silent, meditative walk. We smile at people we pass, but no words are exchanged. Will you think that I've gone over the edge if I tell you that I could sense the plants growing? I was truly one with the universe.
G'ma sometimes muses about sitting on a cloud. That's as near as I can come to describing that walk. I was really feeling the earth beneath my feet and the sun above my head. We'd spent an hour directing our gaze upward and down. In the gym, they are merely directions. Outside, they are different visions with every pose. It's hard to separate the environment from the postures when the wind is caressing your limbs and the air is full of promise.
It was a very nice day.