I almost could have titled this post "The teacher in all things." Earlier, I was in awe thinking about the number of things I discover about myself while I'm teaching. It seems like every time I prepare to teach yoga, the passage I want to read finds me. Today I found this in Meditations from the Mat : "Before yoga each of us is like the land that longs for the return of its hero." The interesting thing is that I started this post during lunch today but didn't find this passage until just now. The passage goes on to state: "We can feel this longing in our muscles, in our bones, in the movements that were once fluid... There is a presence, a life force that is conspicuous in its absence." The passage further states, "We were once possessed of a youthful vitality, but many of us forgot we ever had such energy and vigor..." I was beginning to forget but now I want to remember.
When I was a child I believed in the magical, invisible world. The things of my imagination and the storybooks I read were real. For five years I lived in a special place that I like to call "The Magic Land."
When I was about 3 years old, I moved from Boulder to a large piece of property outside Salida, Colorado. The place I moved to was the Magic Land. I can still picture it as though I were just there but I have not been there except in dreams for over 20 years.
The Arkansas River wound around the land, caressing the sides with little inlets and beaches. In one place, there was even a small island across from a beach we called "The Goat Beach." There were several other "beaches" as well. Near the Goat Beach was a small tract of smooth white sand that we called "Miami Beach." After the Goat Beach, the river curved around and our property dead-ended by another, much larger beach. This beach was carpeted with smooth, river rocks. It was also surrounded on all sides by a large grove of trees we dubbed "The Sanctuary." This "sanctuary" was another magic place. Woodland creatures like elves, fairies and gnomes lived there. Before the river banks gave way to the beach, there was a tiny forest of asparagus.
There were not just beaches on the Magic Land. The river itself was a great source of interest. I remember jumping from rock to rock in the river itself when the water was sufficiently low. I found hours of solitary entertainment just in this activity. Some of the water from the river was also funneled into an irrigation ditch that ran through the property, narrow and small in places and as much as five feet wide and six feet deep in others. When the ditch was dry, I remember going exploring with friends along its length. One of the things that stands out to me about the land is that there was always something for an imaginative child to do there. I do not remember being bored or wondering just how to fill a day.
When I think of the Magic Land, my mind always focuses on the waterways. The river and the ditch fascinated me but my imagination was most captivated by the pond that extended from our land and onto the next property. I remember skating there in the winter for the first time. I remember seeing the unicorn I wrote about in my "Memoir Rewind." At times I would fish small snail shells and underwater grasses from the shallows. I played there often. Along the far end of the pond there was a swampy area. Right before stepping into the swamp, one could pause on a wooden outcropping that resembled a small dock. Entrenched in the boards was a large, metal steering wheel. This perch became my little brother's ship and he was given the name "Captain You Don't Know What You are Talking About" by one of our sitters.
Just writing about the Magic Land has reenamored me with that special place. I read what I have written and slowly the joy and innocence of childhood is restored in my mind.
To be continued...