by Phyllis Capanna © 2012 joyreport
The first thing was this weightlessness. Not five pounds, ten, fifteen over weeks, but instantly. Nothing. Pure delight.
Next, the sunburn pain. Gone. Especially that spot near the right collar bone that kicked in two days after the beach, where my glasses on their lanyard chafed and scrubbed the skin. An openness there, a lack of holding and bracing.
Also free were my back and hips, my customary stiff places from years of being too cheap to buy a new mattress, and too tired to care, until morning.
The dryness and slight stinging of my eyes in the summer heat had somehow resolved themselves to cool silk. With a shock I then realized my vision itself had cleared and I was no longer straining. A light-filled space stretched before me, yet an inner seeing brought everything I turned my attention to into clear focus.
Excitedly, I next checked in with that ringing in my right ear and found it silenced. Silence! How I had longed for and mourned the loss of silence! Silence had always been my most sought-after sound.
I knew without looking now that a host of other ills and malformations were no longer mine to worry over, or be proud of, or take care of, or bother with at all. The little growths on my legs, the moles anxiously monitored for color, shape, and texture, the varicose veins, the lumps of fat and wrinkles that had taken up residence within my borders.
The full implications of that washed over me in one wave of relief. No maintenance!
I easily released these concerns as things of the past: clipping, shaving, cleaning, trimming, rubbing, moisturizing, feeding, breaking, straining, stretching, doctoring, moving! All gone, escaped through a moment in time, drained out of my existence and into — Into where or whose care, it mattered not at all.
I felt eons of time and galaxies of distance away from all of that. I realized in an instant that almost all of my time and attention as a human being had been dominated by concerns of the body. Now that that was gone, I was free! I knew a joy I had never known.
“I think I like carpentry again,” she was saying as I stepped onto the back porch where she’d been working. She stood looking at a set of steps leading down to the back yard that she’d just attached. We’d been making due with milk crates since removing some of the more treacherous boards from the old stairs.
“And look!” she said, as Honey-Bear padded down. When she got to the bottom, we both said, “Aww!” at the same time.
It was such a pleasure to see our old dog do something easily, after this last year of aging and getting sick, doing nearly everything slowly and with difficulty. She’d always been an agile dog who loved to run.
I looked down at her from the porch as she planted her front legs in the Queen-of-Just-About-Everything pose, one ear up, the other down, panting slightly, grinning slightly, being fussed over.
I felt such tenderness for that dog, her fifty pounds and all they’d been through.
That’s when I realized that the body, her body, for all its imperfection, is all I have to know her by. For a moment I gave up my grudge against the physical and how it disappoints and was able to love what is, in the form that it presents itself.
“Welcome to the human race,” I say to myself on such occasions.
And suddenly, it’s okay.
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