A Collection of City Thoughts

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

On Trees

I've been resisting writing about my injury. I realized this yesterday after trying to write about something else entirely and then noticing I had gone to that sad place unconsciously. I suppose I felt that formalizing it in words would somehow make it more real.

What's real is that sooner or later an orthopedic surgeon will drill holes and screws into my knee to repair a torn ACL. Three months off dancing will turn into a year. More cancelled shows and projects and teaching gigs. Everything stalled.

I cannot explain the feeling of not being able to move. The pain of restraint. It's best to avoid even trying, as unnecessary self-pity can be a dangerous thing. My knee will heal. I am injured, not sick. I am blessed, not hard done by.

For now healing has become my priority. To cope I've been writing feverishly and reading voraciously and have taken up swimming and Tai Chi, both highly physical and meditative activities. I've taken to being among trees. Actively seeking them out in the city and just being present with them. Drawing from their strength and endurance. Imagining entire forests growing out of my knee caps.

In a month I will touch the largest trees on earth. In a month I will take the road-trip of my life, camping through all the major parks along the west coast from Vancouver to San Francisco and then back north through the deserts of Arizona and Utah to end on a small lake in Clark Fork, Idaho. I'll do all this before the surgery and the crutches and the brace and the pain. I am ready for it all now.

"Whoever has learned to listen to trees no longer want to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness."

-Hermann Hesse