Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My travels describe a crazy pair of zig-zags. The one between Austin and Indianapolis was pretty much without angst. I was still in the US, but no longer in Austin.
That was bad enough.

Then I was no longer in the US.. in less than a year and a half, Chuck had his long-sought-after job in Germany, unfortunately under an insane person, and we had something like two weeks to arrange for everything to go across the Atlantic. We took the cat by default, and now she's the 20-yr-old Trans-Atlantic Kitty of Mystery.

Enter a state of galactic freefall.

We were met in Frankfurt by longtime friends who will be friends forever, Andy & Joachim.
One met us and hugged us as we got out of customs and inspections, Andy, you saved my emotional life in Europe. You probably know that, as a longtime emigrant. That, after the fanny-pack incident. Will Americans never cease in their convenient inventions? ;-)
Joachim instigated my intellectual curiosity, simply by living in a building with holes in it.
My whole (tiny) hands fit in the cavities in the foundation of his apartment building.

"What are these?"
"50-cal holes from the Allies on their attack of Frankfurt"
If my hands could have cried in these stone cavities, they would have.
My hands have ever since been alert to historical information..

Then, we proceeded through the Frankische Schweiz, quite reminiscent of Central Texas in its limestone vertical relief.

The first day on post, after these adventures, I wakened to obscenities and prolonged screaming.
Some troopie had melted down, and they sent the Krankenwagen (German ambulance) after him. Prolonged screaming, accusations, and the people bending over the afflicted will never entirely leave my consciousness.

First the MPs came, to tuck him in their Jeep, where the accusations continued, muffled.

Well.. here I am.. I thought..
and I also knew, at that point, that German society was going to be better for me than Army society.

I also knew that my empathy for the plight of the American soldier, my respect and my support, was going to have to be unwavering.

I spent the next six years, dancing along those lines.
One of the great wonders of my life, is the path bodywork has taken me on.
Something happened, when I first discovered Structural Integration, something about the authenticity, the intensity, and the necessary integrity, caught my mind's eye.

A huge part of my personal experience in Germany was my monthly train trips and weeklong sojourns in Munich for the European Rolfing Association's (ERA) training program.

Very early in my European experience, I got on that train, and went by myself. Chuck was always and ever my "net" but I only ever called on him when I got stoned out of my gourd on chocolate croissants (this is true) and called him from Schwandorf on the "wrong train". The conductor was an angel and guided me to Weiden, where Chuck picked me up like a stray hay bale. Every other trip was mostly pro forma, on time, relaxing and delightful. Chuck would pick me up in Weiden or just at home in Pressath, where he would greet me with his own Tex-Mex dinners to soothe the soul of the hungry, haunted traveller. He "got" that problem, as no one else would.

I started in Agathareid, south of Munich, on a sheep ranch. I am leaning on a pelt from one of the mix-breed sheep from there, it warms my back and brings amusing memories of attempting to haggle with a German. Doesn't work.. he got his Euro, and I have the loveliest fluffy lambskin ever, for exactly what he wanted. He sounded just like my dad, raising the price as I tried to lower it. I laughed out loud and flashed the cash. He got what he wanted, and so did I.

I resisted the group living, until I fell in love with my roommates. One French home nurse, an adorable Sicilian girl who was always in my lap once she realized that I was a martial artist who had no personal boundaries either, and I loved her for her vivacious openness and just because she was so beautiful and affectionate, and a singer. I confess to lifting a shirt the singer left behind, a black stretchy number she left stinking of her sweat until I washed it about five times. Her voice in the room's shower left us all breathless.. no singer can resist the resonance of water.

The food was beyond amazing, even to my uneducated palate. Wild leeks, homegrown mutton & chicken, breads & cheese. It was a kind of "kindergarten" for me, in terms of Bavarian life & custom. One of my goals is to go back and do this "Spectrum of Rolfing" again someday, as a more mature Rolfer. I would love to do it every year. I wonder if the beer & cigarette addicted donkey is still there.

So I fell in love with Rolfing, like a man might fall in love with that singer. I met Tom Meyers, had him autograph my copy of Anatomy Trains, met France Hatt-Arnold, Dorit Schatz (who "got" me from "hello") Sasha B, and Christoph Sommer (who let me know that growing up was optional, which really sold me).. I fell in love with these crazy people, and even more so, I fell in love with the idea of really changing people. I fell in love with the idea of *really* changing.

I took the stinky shirt home, and I washed it, and I thought of her, and I thought of what I had learned. I got my first three Rolfing sessions and my feet stopped hurting. The old calluses peeled off my feet, and were replaced by reconfigured ones. My knees stopped hurting.
I was sold.

So the resistant, hard-headed provincial was sold on so many levels, simply by falling in love.