A Broad Abroad ~ Part Two

October 10, 2012

Linlithgow. Castle. Graveyard containing dead Kings and Queens.  Water and more fog. Dogs chasing balls through fluorescent green grass. Drinking coffee with J and her friend G, who picked us up from the train station in a white Audi hatchback. In the back seat of the hatchback, there are throw-pillows painted with dachshunds set just so, which causes me to set just so too.  Abba is flowing from his speakers, but he turns it down right away so we don’t miss any of his narration. This is the Susan Boyle tour! Driving on the other side of the road gives me the willies, I feel at any moment we are going to be smashed to death by oncoming traffic.  Driving behind a truck hauling hay. Bathgate. Blackburn. Chatter. We tour the theatre where SB is a patron. We drive past her regular house, her posh house, where she sang karaoke, and where she grocery shops. We stop at Balbairde for lunch, the joint where SB likes to eat.  A little pub sprinkled with aging Scots drinking pints in the early afternoon. The tables are quite low, so that when you sit down, the table is just above your waist. MTV is offering American noise to go with your fish and chips and green peas too. That’s what we eat. The fish and the chips are monochromatic, the peas add a splash of color. G helps me understand my coins. Two pounds, a pound, fifty pence, twenty pence, ten pence, and so on…  No, thank you. I would not like a pint. That would be the end of me. Jet lag mixed with rain mixed with beer mixed with plane rides and train rides, and now automobile rides. A losing combination.

I’m outside sitting on a cobblestone wall covered in green moss. It’s raining. SB and her assistant are in the restaurant now and J and G are posting their interaction with them on the SB forum. I need air. My paper is getting wet. I’m watching bright red leaves fall from trees. Two big red leaves and one small red leaf will follow me home, pressed inside the now wet pages of Stephen Cope’s book.  Scottish oak? Dear god, I need a yoga class. Here they come.

It’s true. I am in Scotland sitting in the parking lot of a shopping mall. A super center. Think Desert Ridge in the rain. I’m waiting for J and G, no WAY was I going to walk around a mall to KILL TIME before our train back to Glasgow. Me and the daschunds. I miss Zeb. This is his homeland. I imagine him happily herding sheep in the rain. He hates summer in the desert as much as I do. Too much stuffed inside of my body now. Stress. I need release. How long were we in the air?  12 hours? Today is the 11th of October, not the 10th. I’m disoriented and grumpy. It’s still raining. I’m sitting in the backseat of an Audi Quattro hatchback. The steering wheel is on the right side which my mind interprets as the wrong side. Oh yes, and I’m crying. I’m crying simply because I need a way to release some of this tension. I can feel that my breath is only moving into the top part of my lungs. I’m breathing shallow, which tells me I’m way past my edge. I’m stressed and in need of restoration. I’m delicate. Watching an itsy bits spider climb up and down an invisible web. Raindrops falling on the roof of the car, breaking apart, exploding. Mild mooded. Mild mannered. Not I. I am craggy and delicate. Delicate needs sunshine, (but not 7 months worth coupled with triple digits), and stretching, and wide open spaces, and healthy food. Delicate bristles at the slightest misalignment of energies. Delicate feels most everything….here my writing becomes impossible to read...

Can you spell that?  I ask after I’ve had her repeat herself 3 times and I STILL don’t know what the hell she is saying…”B e r t e l e y  S t  to  A r g y l e  St. Go right. T e s c o Gallery, 1103.  It’s hidden. Shanti Yoga.  I can’t understand Scottish English, even though it’s English…I squint my eyes to hear better, to understand. I cock my head and strain the muscles of my face with great force trying to find a place inside of me that knows what she is saying. I fail. I’m going to a yoga class. At last. I don’t care if it’s getting dark and I have to walk in the rain without a phone in a foreign country, I’m going to find the hidden yoga class! The instructor Sasha tells me to call her if I get lost. She is so freaking friendly and I am so freaking grateful that she has taken the time to help me find her, even though I may be late to her 1800 class and she told me that her 1930 class is full, I take my chances. I don’t really know how far I have to walk to make it to the “West End”,  and the directions I scribbled down may or may not get me to where I want to go.  I’ll take my chances, for it has become incredibly uncomfortable in my body. I NEED to move! J gives me her iPhone in case of an emergency, but as I walk out into the cold and rainy night, I realize I wouldn’t know what to dial if I found myself in an emergency. If I were about to be jumped by a gang of violent Scots…is 911 global?

What is the date? Is it the 11th or the 12th? I don’t know…

The Griffin- I’m sipping on a Magner’s Irish apple cider. REM is playing. Man on the Moon, I love this song. I love REM. Whatever happened to REM?  “Monopoly, twenty-one , checkers and chess…yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah….”  I just got done sharing a bland vegetarian meal with a group of traditional Sikhs. They don’t practice kundalini yoga, apparently kundalini yoga is “contraversial” in some Sikh circles. I just popped my  head in after a stillness provoking yoga class with Sasha. I noticed the Sikh symbol with all the swords on the outside of the building, so I thought I would check out their yoga schedule, HA!  But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself…

Shanti Yoga is Sasha. She has a website and everything! I finally made my way to her studio after intuitively walking down an alley that opened up into what could have been an artist’s colony.  I’ve got five minutes to spare. Lots of brightly colored buildings with various flags and fliers hanging off of them. Cobble stone soaked in rain and people hanging out smoking cigarettes. I stand in the rain looking around for signs of yoga, an actual sign, or maybe an Om, although it might say EM.   Finally I use J’s phone to call Sasha after asking a young smoking Scot if he knows where the yoga studio is, and he does not. Sasha finds me and leads me up some stairs into her studio which hasn’t a sign. There are three of us here. Three mats already set out. There is room for only three mats. Sasha stands in front of us on a wide window ledge and proceeds to lead the three of us through asana practice. She models all of the poses before having us do them and she gives us a heads-up about what is to follow the pose she is now demonstrating. She instructs us to inhale on contraction and to exhale on expansion, and for a moment I wonder if it’s like driving on the wrong side of the road, here the reverse breathing isn’t wrong…it’s right. But no..that’s not right. She pronounces utkatasana, ukasana. She seems unsure of her alignment cues, questioning herself as we watch, but I don’t care. I’m enjoying all of it, even though she is moving through the practice so quickly that I don’t have time to fully expand or empty my lungs in the poses, I don’t care. It feels SO GOOD to move and stretch. I don’t understand much of what she is saying, because I don’t have an ear for Scottish, and she speaks it at the pace of an auctioneer, but by the time savasana comes, I have miraculously dropped into a deep stillness. Six pounds for what may have been one of the best yoga classes I’ve ever experienced. I enjoyed every moment. I was so present because it was so strange and new…Thanks Sasha! A  fleshed out website and fliers…all for a studio that only holds three students. Awesome.

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3 thoughts on “A Broad Abroad ~ Part Two

  1. Wow, Pretzel Kate–thanks for taking me to my ancestral home (saved me a bundle, too): beautiful and deep and funny insights at once. A friend & I are starting a weekend writers group soon and we’d love to have you join us (bring a friend, if you wish, and bring your dog too–I have a 1/2-acre fenced-in backyard!). Keep on choogling, pretty woman. Happy Hallowe’en!

      1. Yo, goddesskate: can you do tomorrow, 11/10, @ 7 pm? (I know it’s late and the wknd & all, but it’s the only time one of my friends has available.) I have two talented writers joining–one from LA, the other Chicago–so it should be good/beneficial… it is hoped, at any rate. Your presence would complete us; also, as mentioned, feel free to bring a writerly friend/enemy (but, so sorry, the fenced-in backyard claim proved premature as my move last week fell thru).

        Call or shoot a text if interested, por favor: (602) 832-1324.


        Richard ________________________________

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