But, leaving the canopy of birch branches, heading onto the unsheltered stretch between the lake and the pasture, I looked to the left. I felt a knot in my stomach. The tree was gone.
The solitary tree that stands in the field, that changes day to day. My mind was shuffling through possible explanations. I nearly opened my mouth to say something to E.
“Someone cut down the tree.”
Then I remembered.
There are two pastures on this trail. Two unsheltered stretches of gravel path between water and pasture.
I had let my mind wander this morning. And what I learned was that, even after seven months of running this trail, I still don’t know these fields well enough to distinguish between them when I meet them unexpectedly.
When I exhale pain radiates down the length of my arms.
And it’s comforting in a way, to feel it like this.
I almost believe I could grab hold of it, and pull it out my fingertips.
Strands of sharp tinsel.
When I posted that on Facebook, a friend expressed concern, reminded me that women’s heart attack symptoms are different from men’s. And since there is always, in the back of my mind, a concern about inflammation and the damage done over the years, I went to the doctor. But the EKG was fine.
For all the meditation and relaxation techniques I know and use and teach, I am still completely out of touch with the way my body deals with stress. My mind still checks out of the situation, but the rest of my body takes it on. In January, with a mysterious spots all over my body, the doctor asked, “Are you under stress?”
“Not really.” I’d said without giving it any thought. Without giving the three mortgages and impending bankruptcy a thought. Without considering the other things in my life, which I won’t write about here.
Someone commented recently that I seem happiest out in nature. Maybe it’s the distraction. The aches from the backpack, the sting from blisters, maybe they give my body something else to dwell on. The electric pain down my arms stops. Yes. It’s all in my head: the head bone (dis)connected to the neck bone, as the song goes. I need to take another look at the way I’m meditating. The way I am disassociating mind from body. It’s dishonest.