Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Be More Pagan

For the first time in months -- and I mean "months" without any undue authorial exaggeration -- Zach and I had a Saturday. A weekend day kind of day. Sort of.

We had to get up early, which goes against the usual Saturday doctrine of sleeping in and shambling about in house slippers and pajamas til four or five in the afternoon. But, I have aikido practice every Saturday and one of my classmates is prepping for a 1st kyu test, which is one step below black belt -- shodan -- and a very very very Big Deal. Like anyone on the mat the day of the test, I'll be there and a part of the demonstration, getting pinned and thrown and rolled and flipped. I've also been asked to be a demonstration partner for paired weapons demonstrations, or katas. These take a ton of practice with the sword (bokkend) and the jo (long wooden staff) and in some ways, I need to be better than the tester so I don't embarrass him. But again, just being asked is another very very very Big Deal.

So that was my morning.

Zach morning involved a bike ride. Okay, a Herculean bike ride! Zach has been prepping and training to ride in the annual Iron Horse bike tour, which spans 50 miles from Durango to Silverton. On a bike. Over two mountains. Uphill. Up like 6,000 feet of hill, in fact! And yes, as you might have guessed, this too, is a very very very Big Deal. Prior to when training started back in October, Zach had hardly been on a bike since he was less than four feet tall. And while he has always battled an antagonistic sciatic nerve, he also survived a bad car wreck before we went to Ireland. His recovery inspired both of us to be as healthy as possible (without giving up the good stuff in life, like food and beer) so that we live as long as possible doing all the things we enjoy doing! And back in October, when we moved to Durango, it seemed perfectly logical to have Zach get in excellent shape by riding the Iron Horse with his dad -- whose age also spans over fifty, but who has successfully completed the Iron Horse three times, along with other death-defying bike races gruesomely named things like Triple By-Pass or Death Ride.

Okay, so we did our very very very Big Deal things in the morning. I came home from aikido and Zach slogged back from his bike ride. Now, what normally happens at this point on Saturdays is that we shower and sink behind our laptops where there is always work awaiting to be done. We look up some time after the sun has gone down and we resolve to eat some kind of dinner before going to bed, knowing full well that more work awaits us on Sundays.

But on this day, we did not do that.

Gleefully, and out of breath, Zach announced that he had successfully tackled the monster climb up to Coal Bank, the first of the two mountains on the trek. We were so ecstatic!

We saw the golden sun filling up our valley, like honey on gingerbread. We saw sugary blossoms and trembling baby aspen leaves. We saw wayward silk threads flung from traveling spiders. We saw spring and joy and mirth everywhere. And we did what people used to do after a season of  dark, cold toil: we celebrated! We ran to the store and bought a fresh batch of brew and then we hightailed it back to the porch. We did nothing but sit on our bums, sip our suds, soak up the sun. And it.was.excellent!

That's right, we turned pagan! We caroused. We celebrated the magic of spring, the magic of our relationship, and the wonderful life we are scraping together. It must be a life worth supporting, for all the work we put into supporting it.

But that's just it -- you can't just work for the life you want. You have to stop and take stock of what you've got, rather than always pining for something you don't yet have. And once you've taken stock, acknowledge, toast, jubilate, and laud everything around you. Friends, family, home...whatever you discover, be just a little more pagan and celebrate!

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