With my hand on the wheel and my brain in neutral . . .

Posts tagged ‘career choice’

Finding the Phoenix

(This is an old piece, dusted off from my days working in a particular office otherwise known as The Sensory Deprivation Chamber. Can you relate to it?)

The sun was hot on my face, and I could feel the grit beneath my feet where I stood at the edge of the rock that jutted out high over the lake. As if the deep breath I took was all that was needed to relinquish my balance, I barely leaned forward and immediately felt the trillion hair-thin tentacles of gravity slither through the pores of my skin to gently wrap around my blood vessels and muscle fibers and together tug at me ever so lightly, like a weak magnet. I surrendered myself, and I slowly toppled from the rock.

My arms came up from my sides and rose up above me, my body and arms forming a wide Y. I arched the part of my backbone behind my breasts, pulled back my shoulders, and tilted my head to point my chin toward the water: the position of glory; swan dive!

I felt the rush of country air on my skin, and deep in my body I felt the increasing speed. Gravity is quick and sure, and I fell faster and faster, face first toward the lake. For a moment I closed my eyes, just and extended blink, and for that moment nothing existed except me and my speed, nothing but mass and movement, flawless.

It seemed sweet gravity did not pull me down into the lake but instead lifted the water up to me. I watched it draw closer in the same detached way signs seem to approach on an interstate highway. Then I straightened my back and neck and aimed my pointed arms directly down, and I accelerated like a jet fighter trimming its delta wings.

The water did not explode or resist me; it opened for me and traveled the length of my body like the morning breezes that always find the bedrooms in our summer cottage. It enveloped me, and I thought of those teenage summers with marijuana and swimming at twilight in the iced-velvet lake.

Deeper and deeper into the lake I went, and the green water became darker and heavier, and my ears began to hum. I still had momentum from my dive and although the water was slowing me, I held my arrow form, intent on going straight down as deeply as I could, straight down until the lake rejected me and nudged me back toward the surface, straight down into the complete darkness.

My ears were humming and began to itch, and the dark lake was above me, everywhere over me. I coasted downward in the blackness, slowed, and became still. I relaxed my body, trusting the black water to support me, to hold me from going further down. The noise in my ears became annoying, and I knew that I must return to the surface. When I tried to swim, though, I could not. I had become rock.

The noise invading my head became focused and sharp, and I recognized it for what it was. I slapped the Snooze Option button and pushed away my blankets to lie naked on my mattress. It was almost spring time, so my room wasn’t cold, but it was cool. It was still dark; I get up at five thirty. I talked myself onto my feet, turned off the clock, and like a blind man took the correct steps into the bathroom. The shower poured life into me, and I wondered if some science fiction world had a shower that coated you with a different flavor of the world depending on how you set the controls. It was Monday morning in the city. Damn! It was time to wake the hell up.

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