Sunday, October 29, 2006

Coetzee, homesickness and injuries

I hope JM Coetzee won’t mind me printing a small and beautiful extract by him from ‘Life and times of Michael K’, which I particularly enjoyed this afternoon:

But most of all as summer slanted to an end, he was learning to love idleness, idleness no longer as stretches of freedom reclaimed by stealth here and there from involuntary labour, surreptitious thefts to be enjoyed sitting on his heels before a flower-bed with a fork dangling from his fingers, but as a yielding up of himself to time, to a time flowing slowly like oil from horizon to horizon over the face of the world, washing over his body, circulating in his armpits and his groin, stirring his eyelids. He was neither pleased nor displeased when there was work to do; it was all the same. He could lie all afternoon with his eyes open staring at the corrugations in the roof-iron and the tracings of rust: his mind would not wander, he would see nothing but the iron, the lines would not form themselves into pattern or fantasy: he was himself, lying in his own house, the rust was merely rust, all that was moving was time, bearing him onward in its flow.”

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When people talk about being homesick there is of course lots of focus on the ‘sick’ part of that equation. My attention is drawn by a small bout to the ‘home’ aspect however. I suddenly felt a bit homesick early this afternoon and it took a while to recognise the feelings. It’s only the third time I have experienced this since leaving the UK in early 2002, which is nice, and when it has arisen previously I have been in NZ. Now I am in India of course and 2 months of Mysore style existence has taken its small toll. I am homesick but for no particular home, or perhaps two at once – the UK and NZ. My thoughts on this flit between the two locations, without satisfaction, and also I dwell briefly on individuals from both places, but without any coalescence of feelings which might indicate that the true lack has been found and could thus be remedied.

Homesick for nowhere and no-one.

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This list is a little casualty roll call typical (at the moment, and I’m sure most of the time) of folk doing yoga here. Anonymity is respected!

D: Torn meniscus, left knee. Modified practice
T: Strained back muscles, mainly due to mild and constant dehydration but brought on by the practice. No practice
S: Pulled lateral collateral ligament, left knee. Modified practice
J: Pulled hamstring. Practicing
K: Took tumble down stairs 12 days ago and hurt left foot. Continued practicing with mild discomfort until the pain got too annoying and s/he got an x ray. Broken 5th metatarsal. No practice.
G: Mild stomach aches. Practicing
G: Recovering from mild dysentery. Practicing
Me: Infected cut (now open and clean) on left instep from scooter crash 2 ½ weeks ago. No practice until healed up
O: Chronic bronchitis. Practicing
T: Acute back pains in SI region. No practice

And that is just the stuff I know about…….

1 comment:

Yogamum said...

My yoga buddies and I always have to go through the injury report before we start practicing. Today we were discussing whether ashtangis have more injuries than other yogis or athletes...didn't come to a conclusion except that ashtangis do have a hyper-awareness of their aches and pains.

Hope everyone heals up nicely!