1,000 Worlds in a Day

It’s the kind of snow that, from the driver’s seat, looks like the warp speed screen saver on ancient Macintosh computers. After helping Hanshi and Sienna with kid’s karate class, after running a mile and a half, after 80 minutes of jui jitsu talk and take downs, I park the car at the bottom of the drive and begin the half mile hike up to the house. I’m wearing two coats over my gi, plus the rain pants from my car. With the help of the flashlight I always carry, it’s not too bad, just a little slick, but it doesn’t take much elevation gain before there’s an inch of accumulation. They’re predicting up to six inches by morning.

And yesterday, the crocuses in full bloom. Hah!

Nate, the nidan (2nd degree black belt) who I worked jui jitsu with tonight, said the look on my face when he took me down was “fantastic.” Then he did an impression of it. Indeed, it looked fantastic, in that freaked out sort of way. It must have been a reflex, because I have no specific memory of said expression, but I do remember forgetting to keep my head off the mat when—oops—he took me down and my skull bounced. Thank goodness for the tatami (mat), though I still have a bit of a headache.

Thanks, also, for the lightness Hanshi had about him as he taught tonight. I start in a side head lock and end up taking the attacker down and straddling his head and shoulders between my feet, his arm between my legs in an arm bar, his forearm over the top of my crotch, his wrist in my hand, his elbow potentially snapped in two. Except for the fact that I forget to keep my head off the ground and every time, Hanshi walks by, stands over me, and says: “You’re head’s on the ground. You’re dead.” And when I finally say, “Shit!” he laughs, which is good, because I really should have lifted my head off the mat, tightened my grip on Nate’s wrist, and said, “Yes, Sir.”

All of this means it’s hard not to imagine attackers coming out at me through the woods as I’m hiking through the snow, up the drive, along the carved back of Fork Mountain. It’s not that I psyche myself out. No, nothing like that. More that this juxtaposition of worlds is hard to make sense of. One minute I’m in a dojo with a nidan sweeping my feet out from underneath me, Hanshi telling me I’m dead. There is central heat, it’s 70 degrees indoors, and we’re effectively wearing our pajamas. The next minute I’m hiking through the pitch black, a tube of light illuminating flecks of snow, layers of clothing to protect me from the weather.

When I get home, the phone is ringing. I drop my pack and answer it. It’s Cam. He might be falling in love, again. He liked the poem I sent him yesterday called “Boyfriend Bonfire,” and no, he is not in it because that would be a stupid lie. And yes, I can talk, just as soon as I pull off this dripping rain gear and pop the top off a beer, fer godssake. An hour later I’m back at the desk, revision in hand, diving headlong into another world—this time, a fictional one—though it strikes me that after the weather and the dojo and the take downs and the heart to hearts that, as with fiction, anything’s possible in the real world, too.

  • alessa

    i’m jealous. i was in bnr elk earning some much needed $ instead of being in fun jiu jitsu class. ;(

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