Day 23 is something that makes me feel better.
Afternoon sunlight through the leaves, making dappled shadows. Sprawling somewhere soft and lazy, listening to the wind and breathing the warm air. Being surrounded by four cats and a dustmop of a dog, at least some of whom are purring like rusty lawnmowers. Music fingerpickin’ in my ear and folksy voices singing old tunes.
Brisk air in my face, the windows rolled down, the road thin and curvy through the mountains. High slope on one side and drop-off to the other, no other cars around, the engine drowned out by poundingly loud music that draws shadow and water out of the air. Capital-d-Driving, braking just right to get the bite coming out of the turn, exulting into each straightaway.
Perched in a high place, body molded to the rock, looking out over the world. The wind high and thin and chill, all human noises fallen away below the treeline. Sun-warmed stone and treacherously-shifting dirt, a misstep a sentence to fall halfway to the sea.
Brine in the air and gulls on the wing, sand hot enough to making walking hasty, coarse and unstable beneath bare toes. The sun brilliant and the wind strong, the water ear-ringingly cold. Surf and foam and water-darkened shoreline, the layers upon layers of ocean that reach inward and numb the feet. Sunsets that take forever.
Working up a sweat with a knife or a stick or just the body, testing flexibility and precision and pain tolerance with each technique. Demanding better from a fellow student, forcing him to hone the moves until flexibility doesn’t matter and the technique just works. Panting, arms shaking, legs weak, but not tired. Learning and practicing and actually improving in tangible, acknowledgeable ways. Finding security and joy in these abilities, this knowledge.
Hands restless on goatskin, pounding out rhythm that the brain doesn’t know but the body feels. Fingertips plucking at soft strings until nerves go numb and the notes come clean. The vibration of vocal cords, singing like pouring colored ink from a kettle, having no idea how it works but loving that it does. Feeling the music in the belly and in the head, meeting in the chest, and being consumed by everything the melodies summon and manifest.
And far, far more than just that, but if I tried for a comprehensive list, I’d never stop writing.