17 August 2000
T'ai Chi continues to be a joy to me. I've just come in from practicing in the moonlight
on the back porch. It's chilly tonight because it's so clear. I put my denim shirt on (the one with the "Will" patch sewn over the pocket), but my feet were bare. (I savor the feel of the wood beneath my feet.) The moonlight was white and bright, the sky awash; the neighbor's field below seemed to be filled with milk. Only one star burned. I practiced
the 24 forms through four times...
The moonlight seemed to make a glowing outline around my hands and every movement I made
with them as easy to follow, their exact positioning very clear. For the first time I could really see what I was doing, and
I know my form improved.
There are many different T'ai Chi "hands," you know. "Soft hands" is what I was trying for. David showed me again last night in class. Fingers straight, thumb in close, hand almost flat, but everything relaxed, soft-- he doesn't just tell you, though. He'll come by, checking your form, and grasp your hand lightly in his hands, and sort of stroke your hand into the correct position, and, for that moment, you know how it feels, and it feels just right... and for a little while, it isn't so difficult.
Last night's lesson was wonderful-- in spite of what seemed a bad start. Our lessons are held at the new pavilion at Spring Lake. Beautiful space. Wood floors, lots of windows looking out over the lake. But we arrived to
find a spandex-clad blonde and a crew of similarly clad women sweatin' and stompin' to
some obnoxiously loud music. Even though it was 30 minutes past the end of her scheduled class time, the blonde refused to cede the room to us. Words ensued. There was no
moving her. Perhaps she felt a compulsive need to get as much exercise as she could possibly get, after all, it really isn't mete that the instructor should look as if she'd pulled her spandex leotard on over a couple of fanny packs. (And that's no word of a lie.) She wouldn't budge, and she cranked the music up louder.
In the end we had the best of the deal, though. We went out onto the beach for our lesson and practiced in the clean sand, while the evening glowed around us. You should've seen it! Gold and orange and blue... light in the sky, light in the water, changing every minute, each moment more gorgeous than the last... I watched it all even as I watched David leading us...
David has been my instructor since March. I've seen him almost every week. And I watch him like a hawk in class. But, a while ago, I was trying to call him to mind to describe him to somone else, and I couldn't for the life of me remember the color of his eyes. I'm usually very good about eyes. And I have excellent color memory. But I couldn't remember his. And I know that the next week I made an effort to notice, and I know I did take note, but again, in recall, the color of his eyes escaped me. But last night, as I watched him at the head of the class, against that changing evening light, with the light of the sky and the water behind him, I suddenly realized, that's the color of his eyes: the color of sky and water. And now when I call him to mind, I can see the color in his eyes. Now I know. Neat, huh?
When we got home from class, I asked Ma what she had thought of the sunset. She said she hadn't noticed. Sometimes I wonder about her.
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