Letters from Home

A Long Way Up

Holborn Tube Station EscalatorThis story starts with yoga, but it is really about being gone.

Because, let’s face it, we all have the desire to be gone now and then. Sometimes more than we want to be here.

Here’s the story: So I go to yoga and I am in some inversion: sun salutation, moving through upward dog and back down, when my mind jerks me away.

And this is the place (pictured) is where I end up.

This Holborn Tube Station in London. The escalators, which are VERY LOONG. My mind and I are riding them up,  up, up.

My yoga brain does this often. I am not sure why. It jerks me around. Sometimes I arrive in the pool at the Dominican Republic. But lately, I’ve been ending up often in London.

I’m always alone. I am someplace familiar. Walking down Delaware Road. At the soup kitchen. Swaying on the Bakerloo Line In the case of the Holborn escalator, I went there whenever I went to my writing workshop. I’d take the Central Line home after having beers at the Shakespeare’s Head with my fellow writers.

We didn’t want to stay in London. It wasn’t right to be there for us at that time. I suppose some would say that was because our family was over here, waiting for us.

I don’t know that I believe in determinism. But I do know my mind has been taking me away often. To faraway places. To London, to Iowa, to the Athabasca Glacier. To places where responsibilities were much lower and life belonged to just me.

I suppose yoga (in this case) is like a safety valve. The mind splits and lets go of expectations. I can return for a moment to that one place where I have nothing to do but breathe, stand still, and maybe just people watch.

Beyond yoga, I grab for moments to do this in my life now. I knit to breathe. I sing to breathe. I bake to breathe. All of it takes me up, allows me to be gone, if even for a couple minutes.

We all need that.