What a Creature!

Several years ago we visited friends living on a remote ocean point in Maine. My husband Rob and I rode bikes to the little beach at the end of the road and I dumped my bike and headed like a homing pigeon for a rock outcropping speckled with rocks and shells. He removed his helmet and headed to the water’s edge with his camera, tuned toward the speckle of random people.

Unaware of my helmet, bedazzled by debris, I knelt in puddles of sea water collected in crevices and examined the ocean’s offal. At first I took little notice of the folks around me, keen on the booty, stuffing my pockets with rocks with faces, sticks washed silky by sandy salt water and then I saw that I was in the midst of a group. They were all ages and except for a few adult supervisors, they were mentally challenged.

I took a seat and stock of the scene. Someone named Betsy kept wandering away and her supervisors seemed engrossed in conversation interrupted now and again to halfheartedly call her back. I watched with dread as she purposefully wandered toward the road.

They eventually reined her in and I got tired of people watching and turned back to collecting. Suddenly Rob was at my side grinning to find me in what appeared to be a group project with the mentally challenged people. He leaned in and spoke gently like I was a delicate mental case:

“Is that your rock? Have you found a nice rock?”

I was still wearing my helmet. You can imagine how it appeared.  It wasn’t really much of a stretch as my momentary companions and I were riding the same contented wave.

Today I walked the road to Radnor Lake and took the trail back home. Along the way I paused to rest my aching leg that’s been giving me trouble for some time. A tree trunk 10 feet tall and I stood face to face. She had lacy spires that looked like silver sculpture atop a temple and what seemed to be the right place for her waist was shifted a good bit to the right. Facing her, my right hip which is also shifted right began a Ouija board slide to match hers which brought it to the left. The pain in my leg subsided as I stood still waiting to see if her body had anything left to communicate to mine. And I left. It was the truest feeling of kinship I had felt that day.


I write these stories down because it pleases me to remember. I publish them because if you consider citta- vrtta- nirodha*, you might see the yoga here.

*cessation of the turnings of thought– as described in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali



Filed under new age enlightenment, Uncategorized, yoga

7 responses to “What a Creature!

  1. binder4health

    Can we please see the pictures? I only ask because I know Rob did a stellar job framing you as the group centerfold, the girl with the helmet.
    If not, that’s OK, you did a wonderful job painting the image in my imagination.

    • Brent,

      I admit to coming here from a night of cocktails with friends and I should wait to reply but I’m so tickled to see you here, I can’t wait. Bitchin’ Yoga has missed you.

      Well, there is a picture of me looking damn retarded if I say so myself, and were you hoping for that group photo? He didn’t take that and really there were only a few of the group on that rock with me. I took artist’s license with that as I had actually spent an hour or more there with folks coming and going around me the whole time. Wait , is it awful to say retarded? I hate to be politically correct. It just seems like a lie. Guess that’s the New Yorker in me. And I don’t think it’s a bad word. Anyway, there are no other pictures. When Rob found me there, it was time to rejoin our friends. He was done with pictures.

      Did you see any pictures? They are there and I was shameless enough to offer one of me that was seriously unflattering. 🙂 Huge love to you for responding to this post of all things.

  2. Hello fellow yogi,

    Do you have a story of healing or transformation through yoga that you’d like to share with the world? We believe that now, more than ever, the world needs to hear about the healing power of yoga.

    The Yoga Diaries is now accepting submissions. We invite you to submit your story.

    Please help us to spread the word…and the light.

    The Yoga Diaries

    • Thank you for the request. If I find myself writing a post about the healing power of yoga I will be happy to share it with you. If you see something on the blog that you would like to me to share please let me know, anytime. All the best to you and again thank you for findng me.

  3. A few times over the years I’ve found myself working with developmentally disabled people in one setting or another. And I don’t like that term much better than retarded. Problem is, our culture doesn’t have a term that isn’t pejorative in some way. We figure that anybody who isn’t within one standard deviation of the norm needs some sort of name, I guess, and away we go. People in the field often refer to the “kids”. Call elderly men and women kids. Nobody means any offense, of course. We’re just not set up to deal with each other sometimes. Some of the sweetest, most guileless, most contented people I have known wear a helmet all day, so to speak. There are yoga lessons in here somewhere, Hilary, which escape me at the moment. Any ideas? Glad to know you were in Maine. That’s where I live – sorry I missed you!

    • Hi David,

      I don’t think there is a yoga lesson but there is a yoga understanding.

      I put those first words of the Yoga Sutra because while the main work of yoga is to unveil ignorance on all levels, there is a call to cease the turning of thoughts, to find clarity in stillness like you do in meditation and to be able to be absorbed in something outside of the noise in our heads.

      I was not practicing yoga in either instance but then again, I was. There is so much yoga we do without noticing it’s yoga.

      I do not know what is in the heads of others, including the group on that beach but there does seem to be a childlike simplicity that I often feel I share. I’m not sure what I even mean by that but there it is.

      Where are you in Maine? I may be back as my friends often invite me.

      • Sharing childlike simplicity is, I think, words enough and meaning enough. We’re in Brunswick, about thirty miles north of Portland. Peace…

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