4/2/16 I am excited to be going to a yoga retreat in Guatemala in a few weeks. I am having a hard time containing my excitement but I have to admit I am a little nervous and well afraid. I will be going alone and I haven't been to Central America before. Listening to podcasts recently I worry about violence but have been assured by many that Guatemala is safe just don't wander out alone in Gautemala City. That shouldn't be too difficult Many of my friends in Asheville have already been to this country (ironically) and their shared tales are colorful, fun and lively.
Our Yoga class this week is about Fear and knowing fear. Not ‘no fear’ but to ‘know fear.’ I later go for a run and contemplate fear and how do you know it? I thought of this poem that classmate Alan B. read when I was a junior in HS. “I knew a Woman”…none of us in the public speaking class knew what knew meant except Alan and the teacher, but our teacher explained that to know, biblically speaking, is to make love to. (A sexual and sensual connotation).
It make sense to me and the yoga class perfectly fits because our yoga teacher had explained that when fear is your shadow, you will run away from it until you die. To Know Fear (A bumper sticker he remembers from his kayaking days) is to respect it (his words) What comes to me is the idea of making love to it. To be in communion with fear. Like a kundalini snake that intertwines. When we embrace something it is with us, in us, not stalking us. I run into our yoga teacher a few days later and tell him the meaning of ‘know’ because he doesn’t know. He just stares. I shrug and say I like these things. Words. And the meaning of words. He quickly says that he does too as he hurries along on his way to another class that he’s teaching.
BY THEODORE ROETHKE
I knew a woman, lovely in her bones
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I’d have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek).
How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,
She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and Stand;
She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin;
I nibbled meekly from her proffered hand;
She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake,
Coming behind her for her pretty sake
(But what prodigious mowing we did make).
Love likes a gander, and adores a goose:
Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize;
She played it quick, she played it light and loose;
My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees;
Her several parts could keep a pure repose,
Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose
(She moved in circles, and those circles moved).
Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:
I’m martyr to a motion not my own;
What’s freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.
But who would count eternity in days?
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:
(I measure time by how a body sways).
Theodore Roethke, "I Knew a Woman" from Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke. Copyright 1954 by Theodore Roethke.
Source: The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke (Random House Inc., 1961)