A letter from one of my original Aikido teachers, hand written.. telling me about his new kitten.
Listening to Seal, from that time when he was everywhere..
I was training with a group in Near East Austin, one guy who held a kind of study group in his back yard (this was the basis of my early training, talented guys with big back yards), the house always smelling of ginseng and herbal remedies.
I will never forget the smell of that place, and lapse into deep, sweet recollection with the smell of simmering ginseng and ginger.
It was a time of real exploration for me, as I searched for my martial identity.
I remember trying Escrima, so dyslexic that two of my martial arts buddies stood at my front and back, one holding and guiding my arms, the other providing the other side of the contact. Of course I was madly in love with both of them, in that immature, transferred state.
I knew what was going on, I was letting all of this pass through me, and just blissing out on the contact and the experience.
Eventually, and partially through the convulsions of my breakout from Austex, I found my real bliss in classical Japanese martial arts.
The simple truth, of putting the sword in my belt (learning how to tie it) sitting down (learning how to sit) taking it out (learning how to take it out) using it (an endless exercise) and putting it back (my greatest challenge, on so many levels) is one of the best study sets I can approach, to make myself a better person.
Encountering the sounds, scents, and sensations which set me on my way, fill me with tremendous nostalgia for that whole set of experiences, which can never be repeated, and will always be cherished.
I was such a Hometown Girl.. Austin is, and ever will be, my hometown, and any year passing, that I don't go home for the wildflowers in spring, is one that hurts me deeply.
Pulling up my pins and moving on was the single most painful thing I have ever done.
My compass will ever return, to Austin, Texas, though I can't survive in that environment.
Well.. I could.. if I decided I liked that oven heat, and absented myself late Dec-March, deadly cedar season.
But no.. I love Fall, here in the Mid-Atlantic.
I love cool springs, crocuses, cool June nights.
July and August, I can travel (not to Texas) and then there is actually some fall going on by September. They don't really have a handle on hot, here. This year, it got to 106, and that was miserable, with the local humidity, but it ain't no 110, ain't no 115.
I listen to Guy Forsyth's Hometown Boy, with the lines about the bloodsucking metal mosquitoes, the shotguns, the dead kids who wanted to do good, and it all hits me center square. Suzy was my best friend, and I never thought of kissing her, even though she would have liked it.
No, I will never leave my hometown.
Not in my heart.
My body just can't stand it.
But I am not at an end.
Just another, new, strange beginning.