Sunday, February 12, 2006

Looking to the Sky

Speed demon, my flute teacher used to call me that.
I had an unfortunate predilection for playing ink-heavy sections as fast as I could and not as fast (or as slow) as the tempo marking called for. I liked going fast, fingers flying. Joy in motion, incentive to practice until I could play precisely at top speed.

I was a synchronized swimmer, a long time ago. Somewhere in my parent’s house there’s a picture of a pre-pubescent me, leaning against our kitchen sink in a sleek blue one piece, gelatin slicking my hair back into a tight knot.

It’s a question of stamina, training yourself to control your breathing to the point where you can swim the entire length of the pool in one breath. The will power to force your muscle into one last stroke as every cell in your body screams agony from the self-produced waste product of life.

There is no finesse there, no real need to improve upon an agility in water I was born with, or perhaps acquired so long ago I don’t remember. There is just the brute force of subjugating my body to do without. The repetitious fine tuning I saved for my schoolwork and my music. I guess you could say I’m not the athletic type.

So here I am on a precipice looking down, down, down into snow and rocks and trees, the altitude gives me a headache. I am not afraid of heights, or avalanches, or broken bones and concussions, but for a moment the mountain does scare me.

For a moment I catch a glimpse of the uneasiness of visitors to my ocean. Their fright at the turbulent green of the salty warm water I’ve spent so many hours in is, for a moment, my fright at slippery snow coated slopes, everything at an angle. But my mind forces itself away from these thoughts, as it always does and must.

Uncertainty in your step causes you to fall far more often than the unsteadiness of your footing.

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