The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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Posts from — August 2011

Meeting Resistance

My yoga instructor yesterday was a substitute. The regular teacher was at a funeral. His bike was in the room and my first impression was that he seemed a little too sure of himself. My opinion quickly changed, however, when he described how he came to practice yoga. It was after falling 35 feet, breaking his back, and struggling for six or seven years to rehabilitate himself.

He was handsome and the two older women in class beamed with the glow of being in the presence of an attractive man. His instruction was precise and perfect. Creating a base was the most important part of any pose, he said, because the asana was built upon it. He used all kinds of props and supports. He had studied Iyengar. Anything was useful if it helped one get nearer the ideal posture.

As he was helping me set up my mat and blankets as props for the shoulder stand, he said something that caught my attention. From his perspective, it was a casual comment, but from mine, it was a minor epiphany. He said, “We often think of props as fixed surfaces. The result is that they skew our bodies in unnatural ways because we resist them. The proper way to deal with resistance is to establish a relationship with it. It is there to help you achieve your goal.”

How right he was. I managed a perfect shoulder stand for the first time in my life.

August 30, 2011   Comments Off on Meeting Resistance


It finally rained
Though rainfall without wetness
Water without sound.

August 23, 2011   Comments Off on 359

Albert Lea’s Mermaid

In New Denmark Park in Albert Lea (at the edge of Fountain Lake), there is a mermaid similar to the one in Copenhagen. Of course, Fountain Lake is not the North Sea and Albert Lea is not Copenhagen, but during the early part of the last century they were not that dissimilar. Decades earlier, Danes observed the flat land and open expanses of water of southern Minnesota and thought, holy shit, this is just like home, and established churches, farms and businesses, and spoke Danish until English (with a strong brogue) gradually replaced the original tongue. In some ways the park and mermaid are a hasty and crudely American reminder of the past, but in most ways they are not. For what we are, our most essential selves, is always deeply buried in our roots.

August 17, 2011   1 Comment

Birthday Bouquet

What is love? Something given and accepted for what it is. So easy. So often absent in our lives. What’s required? Not much really. An appreciation of beauty wherever it is found and the courage to offer it in love.

August 16, 2011   Comments Off on Birthday Bouquet


An old chair worn smooth
By graceless gracing of grace
A butterfly drowned.

August 15, 2011   Comments Off on 358

Minnesota Farm at Dawn

August 14, 2011   1 Comment


On the garden path
Grasshoppers flee with each step
Too soon late summer.

August 11, 2011   Comments Off on 357


That time in the evening
When the windows are open
And leaves rustle beyond the eves
When a wind chime jangles two houses over
Mingling with the sounds of traffic,
And you come to me
As a presence
As a living thing
As the very essence of all that lives
And I know that you are god.

August 11, 2011   Comments Off on Namaste

George Klinsmann

Jürgen Klinsmann, his face alight with emotion, during the playing of the national anthem before his first game in charge of the national team. He looks like he spends his mornings running on the beach. Someone said he’s thinking of changing his name to George. God, what a man. Will he be able to change the composition and style of the national team as he did in Germany? You would imagine he could, but I suspect this is a much more difficult challenge. Looks like he’s up for it, though.

August 11, 2011   2 Comments


Opened without thought
And impossible to close
Perfection, squandered.

August 5, 2011   Comments Off on 356