dawnswann

Posts Tagged ‘Monks’

I’m a Badass. Just Saying.

In Life Lessons on May 23, 2011 at 4:21 pm

SO, this morning I decided to ride my bike to the
market. I only had to get a few things. On the way, I saw my friend Shannon.

“Just riding around?” she asked.

“No.  I’m in
training,” I answered. “I got picked up by a bike team this morning.”

Then Shannon laughed and laughed. I don’t think she
was laughing at me. It’s just that she knows that I have never been on a team
in my life and it must have struck her as delightful. Also, I’m not exactly
what one would refer to as “athletic.”Shannon belongs to a soccer team AND a
hockey team and God knows what else.

“That’s fantastic,” she laughed, tears spilling over
the rims of her eyes.

Then I went on to the market, parked the bike and
headed in. I carried my helmet instead of leaving it with the bike just in case
anyone else wanted to ask me about how badass I am.

Over by the meat department, I bumped into another
friend who neglected to notice the helmet slung over my forearm. He is a small
business owner and wanted to talk about how taxes are killing him. Lots of my
friends own businesses, however, so this isn’t news to me. It’s not that I’m
not compassionate or anything, it’s just that I really wanted to get my $1.99
per pound chicken before the sale price changed. (This guy’s a talker.) As
Chris neatly segued from taxes into an oral dissertation on the meaning of “axis
of evil,” I realized I had to make a move. I dropped some of my groceries and
when he leaned over to pick them up for me, I offered my helmet, as if to say,
throw them in there.

“Did you ride your bike here?” he asked. “Like, as in your bicycle?

Then I told him how I’ve raced at the BMX track
twice now and how this morning I got picked to be on the first team I’ve ever
been on EVER and how my heart was beating out of my chest and my vision was
woozy and I thought I would die standing on top of that giant starting hill
waiting for the gate to go down. And then how, all of a sudden, I felt this
crazy calm come over me and it was like nothing existed anymore but the moment.

“You were in the zone,” he said. His eyes narrowed. “So,
you know about the monk and the strawberry then?” he asked, as if that made
sense. I shook my head.

“This monk,” he began, “Was running from some
hyenas. He ran and ran and came to this tree. He climbed up and saw that at the
top of the tree was a hungry lion. So he jumped off the tree and ran some more.
Meanwhile, the hyenas and the lion are chasing him. He comes to this cliff
overlooking a ravine. At the bottom of the ravine is a river full of
alligators. So he has the lion and the hyenas coming up behind him and down
below are the alligators snapping their teeth. The monk backs to the edge of the
cliff and he slips. He’s falling down into the ravine and all of a sudden, his
robe catches on a branch that’s sticking out. He looks up at the branch and
sees that his robe is ripping. He shuts his eyes and starts to meditate and
when he opens them again, he sees this perfect, juicy strawberry growing out of
the side of the ravine. It’s perfectly red, perfectly round. Time stops. All that
exists is this strawberry. So he reaches out to grab it and pops it into his
mouth. It’s the most delicious strawberry that ever existed. The monk achieves
enlightenment. Nirvana.”

“And then what?” I asked.

“And then he fell to his death, of course. The point
is the strawberry. He was in the zone. That’s what it’s all about. The zone.”

I thought about zones on the ride home, backpack heavy
with chicken and bananas and oranges. There’s lots of “zones.” There’s the
combat zone, The Zone diet and Auto Zone for starters. I’ve also heard my
athletic friends make references to this mythical “place” in which they enter
from time to time but I’d assumed it could only be reached with the aid of gross
motor skills (which I lack) and endorphins.

I thought about how I felt on the starting hill. How
that supernatural calm overtook me. How, even though I lost both races, I
glowed for the rest of the day. I thought about the monk and the strawberry. Like
the monk, time stopped for me on that hill, alligators besides. For me and the
monk, there was a little eye of calm in the middle of a terror storm. Was that
nirvana? Probably more like an adrenaline rush. But whatever. I’ll buy it.

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