February 22, 2012



Toward winter’s end, the land is laid bare and the greyest of days reveal tints of silver, sage, teal, aqua, tan, taupe, smoke, umber and sienna.

No leaf is left to dress and every bird nest bared shows well for the next tenants.
I walk alone or with my dogs, no gaggle of geese with me, counting steps and calories.
Why stay on the roads when the deer have made such lovely paths for me?

There are treasures here, and I collect things in my pockets to carry some mystery home.
In this cold bright air stands a cluster of pines by a stream I’d never noticed beyond the usual veil of deciduous forest, and I raise my nose like my dogs do and draw in hopes of finding an offering of that favorite fragrance hovering in the stillness.

Here is someone’s driveway, and farther in the woods, a quiet home of moss covered stone that seems to grow from the ground, and here is a guest cottage overgrown with ivy nearly hidden in a tiny sunken meadow. Bare now is a long gone pet’s worn headstone in a neighboring yard, which summer sheltered in wild grass.

A cluster of daffodils heralds spring and marks the headstone from afar and I think, How could the daffodils shine so well if competing with the sun?

And like a photographer shines his light brightly to dissolve the details of a model’s skin so that no wrinkle or shadow mare the beauty, by the absence of the sun, in this grayness, I can see every shadow, and detail, and texture of the trees.
They have faces and bodies.
They have battle scars and history written upon them.
By their rawness, I’m drawn in.

Such honesty welcomes me to my self by example and I feel at home here.

I consider the contrast of humans. How are we fully appreciated or approachable as covered up as we are?
How are we at home with each other?
It’s a politically charged year for the nation. It’s a politically charged year for the yoga community. I wonder about the aversion we Americans have to discussing sensitive topics.

I listen to two of my students agree with each other that you never discuss politics or religion. One of them is a popular musician and the other a public figure. They are guarded for their livelihoods.

But I think of the emerald green glistening moss on a lichen covered rotting log that had captured my attention and imagination for more than just a passing glance on my walk and thought, what a pity it is that we are too sensitive, too fragile to look at the beauty in the mold and rot and decay as well as the flowers.

Light’s camouflage does not remove these things, but leaves them undiscovered and denies them the attention that might reveal that there is beauty in the argument, there can be fury without hate; our sensitivities to what we don’t understand need not be preserved by aversion, but dispersed by discussion.

In the greyest of times, we are unveiled. If we were really home, would we not be willing to undress?

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sharonna Feb 23, 2012 8:09am

Ah yes…..lest not we engage in healthy debate with one another for fear it will negatively impact our businesses, our image, our social standing,…….we used to live in a culture where your religious and political beliefs were tolerated, no damaging judgment passed, no lives ruined, no businesses boycotted because no one really cared what you thought about religion or politics.

It was a private matter and if it did come up you agreed to disagree but you still were great friends, neighbors, and colleagues and you did onto others as others did onto you. We were much kinder back then and much more tolerant. But for the past few decades, and now more than ever in our culture, both the left and the right have become so radicalized and polarized that there is no longer any healthy debate among us. We huddle and whisper around the water cooler about Bill Mahr and John Stewart's shows (who both encourage healthy debate among adversaries) or we boisterously blurt out our hatreds and judgment toward our President on the Congressional floor. It's an interesting time in history. Yes effective debate with adversaries could possibly be more effective and humane and kind if we were all willing to undress, but then again lately whenever I see the images of political and religious leaders in this country I would like to have a conversation and debate with, I think it best they keep their clothes on. Well actually there is one political leader that I think would look might fine unadorned with threads.

Tanya Lee Markul Feb 23, 2012 3:51am

This is beautiful.

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Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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Hilary Lindsay

Hilary Lindsay created the first comprehensive yoga program in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans, choreographed videos for athletes, introduced yoga and meditation to the Nashville public school system and continues to work one on one with private clients including the Nashville Predators. She has been covered by popular magazines and television shows and has worked for a variety of publications as a yoga expert. She authored a chapter in Yoga In America, a book published at the forefront of the discussion among yoga teachers about contemporary yoga in America. Additional writing can be found at www.bitchinyoga.wordpress.com as well as the Journal pages of her yoga site. Hilary teaches classes and workshops in consciousness through movement. Her medium is yoga. Her method is exploring the language of the body in light of the eight limbs. Find her at activeyoga.com.