talking to us about Wu, the emptiness that engenders the three treasures.
One is Qi, vital energy (what are the other two my brain asks from the clutter
that ousted Wu). Mindfully come to standing, he says, and we do, all denizens of the river banks
and hills, place your feet together, and we do (I am destabilized), and close your eyes.
Feel the solid earth beneath you (less solid, considered, that is me), the energy coursing.
Don’t lock your knees (I unlock my knees, lower my weight), stretch your spine,
tuck your chin, extend through the dome of your skull, breathe (aware I respire as an amateur
so clumsy) feel the energy from the river, from the community, beyond, from the horizon,
but all I can think of is Chechnya, seriously, with Buddha breath, Chechnya, with
attachment I cannot shake, Chechnya. My Qi is stagnant, I want to yell
but everyone else is lifting the sky. I do as they young man says, vertebra by vertebra,
I dip my head until it hangs heavy and human. I look at my old knees in tights, my bare feet,
then draw that cannonball up on its cervical crane, stacking the little box bones, and tip my chin
up and back, focused on one bolt that secures the open beams above us.
I tell myself don’t think of Chechnya, the men and women detained, defamed, tortured,
my breathing catches, wracked by the enemy right here. It’s not the young man
who has made me hold my arms out “embracing the tree” until my shoulders ache
(nothing to true suffering), not gravity itself (silent and smug, it always wins),
but that absent Wu and its three treasures, the invasion of elsewhere and its unhealing horrors.