Have you thought much about the history of yoga and so on in America? Among
the books I haven’t read was one I ordered for the college library after a New
York Times book review, Gary Lachman, “Madame Blavatsky; The Mother of Modern
Spirtuality.” Lachman was one of the founding members of the group Blondie. I
thought the book would appeal to art students, but I’ve not seen anyone with it
clutched to their... wherever people clutch books to nowadays. I doubt “bosom”
is the right term.
I mention the book because I decided yesterday to see what Wikipedia had to
say about the history of yoga. I was thinking of posting on Facebook how
grateful I am that I found stretches which help my back and relieve tension.
But then I thought, “I wonder if people will pile in because we went to an
Ayengar studio and there are probably schisms.” So I looked to see what bother
I might be getting into and…my goodness. Run your eye over the words and
prepare for your head to swirl. All that stuck in my brain was that Alexander
the Great brought with him a group of scholars whose job it was to plunder
Big Alex: “You, you and you, go into that storehouse and bring out all the
booze, gold, fish and so on. You, you and you, go ask that bunch what they’ve
been thinking about for the past couple of hundred years.”
I wrote to a friend not long ago that I expected someone to declare quite soon
a National Day of Fasting, Prayer and Humiliation. It’s something of a
tradition during epidemics. “Oh god, or gods, we’ve foregone our cornflakes
and failed to suck our guts in when someone wanted a photo, so would you mind
awfully taking back the plague?” Someone told me today that the occupant of
the White House called for exactly this. Not really his bailiwick is it,
prayer and fasting? Humiliation is more his line.
Possibly we could have a National Day of Madam Blavatsky’s Theosophy and fraud?
So great that we in Portland didn’t get a “shelter in place” order. They were
mooting one; the mayor still wants one. We arranged to meet E. and N. under
safe circumstances, on the waterfront and to walk beneath the cherry blossoms.
Loads of people out in gorgeous sunshine, all but a couple of couples observing
the correct distance. Go Portland! So nice to be reminded that humans still
walk the earth. I ran into a couple of students who were also having their
first outing since last week. I explained that I’d spent most of the day
revising syllabi and drawing up a plan. “The reason you haven’t received them
is that when I logged on to send them there was a follow up to, ‘All of this
must go out on Friday.’”
“And the follow-up said?”
“We’ve changed our minds about the teaching timetable. Don’t send anything.”
We all smiled, because what else can you do? Everyone’s inventing on the fly.
“You called it,” said C., who is in two of my classes and has heard me
predicting gloom and doom since January.
On the way home L. wanted to support Higgins, a restaurant everyone loves, on
our way home. You can only get take-out at any restaurant. She looked it up
on her phone. Nope. Higgins has closed for the first time in 26 years. Like
many restaurants they have a very small kitchen, so I can imagine it was an
unsafe work environment.
Instead we stopped at Trader Joe’s for beer and tortillas and veg, all the food
groups. Many of the shelves were denuded but it was quiet. We walked right up
to the checkout, where there was hand sanitizer, a guy wearing gloves, a
Got home, clothes went into the wash, showered. Put groceries into quarantine.
Have you noticed diminished appetite? For me I think that’s about interrupted
sleep and less exercise than usual. The tennis club has closed, so our only
opportunity for that will be public outdoor courts. Rain in the forecast next
week. That will change everyone’s outlook.
My plan for the weekend is to get vegetable starts in the ground. Which means
removing a lot of weeds. Yesterday evening I pulled a lot of ivy. There are
many forms of exercise. And you?