Morning came soon enough, and I felt like I hadn’t slept in weeks. Probably because I hadn’t slept more than a few hours a night in a very long time. But, lazing about in the bed when I knew I could make myself useful around the house was enough motivation to drag my bones from the comfort of my cozy covers and into a tee shirt and some yoga pants.
The sun was already screaming through the trees across the other side of the pond, and I couldn’t think of a more peaceful place to stretch out my yoga mat than under the pecan tree overlooking one of my most favorite spots on the planet.
I slung my mat over my shoulder, grabbed a bottle of water and headed for the back door. Oh! That screeching door! Definitely top of my list to fix that screen door if I had to take it off the hinges to do it. A sound that bad would scare the cows down the road.
There was a briskness to the morning air that was refreshing. Here in the south, we typically get hot summers, a week of autumn and spring, and then something the weathermen schizophrenically call “winter.” The leaves were already turning and beginning to drift to the ground, and the pecan tree just outside my grandparents’ master bedroom was always my favorite place on the farm.
When in full bloom, my Granny and I would sit under its shade and drown worms on the bank of the pond hoping to catch a few catfish, bream or trout for dinner that night. Granddaddy had his favorite spot just down the bank but still within earshot of us in case we hooked something. I was never allowed to touch anything I brought out of the pond. I finned myself once on a catfish, and that was the end of me trying to unhook anything I’d hooked.
When I was much, much younger, the sloping ground beneath the pecan tree was my launching pad for my Slip and Slide. It was way too far to slide into the pond from the tree, especially considering there was an incline and, well, a small road for my Granddaddy’s tractor and truck to pull around to the barn at the back of the house. But, those things never stopped me. Once Granny realized I was aiming for the corner of the pond, she’d soap up the slippery runway with dishwashing liquid and cheer me on yelling, “Go, Baby, go!”
I never made it to the pond. I mostly ended up picking broken pecan shells out of my bathing suit. But, I didn’t mind.
That was the perfect spot to begin my day. So, I stretched out my mat and went to work. I’ve been practicing yoga for many years, and I know several different routines. Today didn’t feel like a “routine” day. Today felt like a “new start” day. I took a deep, cleansing breath and reached for the leaves above my head, tilted back even further to arch my back, then to the left and right. I kept my eyes closed and focused on my breathing and the sound of the little sparrows in the tree singing to me.
After a while of focusing on nothing but the sounds of nature and my breathing, I decided to try some new poses. “Be adventurous,” I thought. “Why not? It’s not like I have an audience to see me if I fall over,” except for the turtles popping their heads up in the pond just a few feet away. I didn’t really care if they saw me fall over.
I don’t know how long I’d been under the pecan tree. The morning breeze had died down somewhat, and it was beginning to warm up nicely for an autumn day. As I moved from one pose to the next, I vaguely recalled the passing of a vehicle down the road in front of the house. It was nice to focus on the rhythmic movements instead of whether someone was focusing on me.
I decided to do one last movement, Crow, before relaxing with my bottle of water. I bent down at the waist with my feet close to my hands. Crouching lower, I carefully rested my knees on my forearms and tilted my body forward until my feet were off the ground. Breathe…breathe…breathe…and just don’t fall over…
“I know all those yoga poses have crazy names, so what do you call that one?”