The Night Walk

There are a few things you learn during a walk in the nighttime. You learn that living among the clouds isn’t a fairytale, and you’re not a princess, and there isn’t a castle. It’s actually just fog. And it swirls around and curls your hair with the humid disappointment of just-missed desire.

Orange, usually, as the steam thwarts streetlights with thick vapor determined to undo identity. Even a known name as basic as color is too much, too nice, too today…it belongs to the sun world where shadow people sleep and bide awhile, waiting, for the fog that removes both why you walked and where you are going.

It might be different if you didn’t walk alone. But you’ll never know, because if you had a companion you wouldn’t be seeking the night walk in the first place. You wouldn’t be trying to find the point, the corner, the exact number of steps at which your missed ship becomes just another droplet in the hanging vapor, where the ship that never came in blends into the millions of molecules sent to earth for the night as punishment. Solitary confinement for clouds.

You learn to keep company with the misbehaved cumulonimbus forced to listen to gravity in the same way that you’ll never free your feet from the ground. You may fly for awhile, in a plane, or in a man’s arms, if you’re lucky, but eventually you’ll realize you won’t find the way to stay afloat. At least not now, and especially not on the night walk.

When you return, which you will have to do, you may face any number of things.  Sorrow, or someone saying sorry. And all of a sudden your resolution will be gone. You will feel the moment of resistance tantalize you for a heartbeat, maybe two, before it passes you by, on the way to rejoin its stronger-willed brothers in the march toward dawn.

An apology is like a paycheck. A dividend, a refund for wrongs, even if the crime wasn’t financial and the damage is actually a deep, deep crevice in the rock face where your spirit hides when it stops trying to climb. Sorry tumbles down the side of a cliff.

Maybe it’s the human condition, maybe it’s money. But you are conditioned to accept cash or check and you will. Even if it’s trading love for a line of bad credit, apologetic.

A walk in the nighttime doesn’t bring you what you want or what you needed. And yet some small part of your pain gets stolen by the fog.

It dissipates, just like rain.

Advertisements

Inspiration from the Breadbasket

Two days ago I was privileged to take part in my first-ever Twitter chat with the lovely Kathryn Budig. Originally from my hometown of Lawrence, Kansas, Kathryn has transformed her passion for yoga into a career that encompasses the world. She’s hosted yoga retreats and workshops from Florida to New Zealand, and recently put out an “Aim True” yoga DVD with giant fitness retailer Gaiam.

In partnership with ZICO coconut water (which, alas, I have never tried), Kathryn talked with fans and fellow practitioners for an hour.  Mostly I was just stoked to have an actual almost-real-life conversation with one of my idols. Kathryn, it must be said, is the rock star of the yoga world. And she’s from Kansas! KANSAS!

Throughout the chat, she answered questions ranging from technical yoga advice to the spiritual side of one’s practice. I started to realize what a fabulous marketing opportunity this was for ZICO—associating themselves with someone like Kathryn and making her accessible to thousands of fans, driving all of these potential customers to ZICO’s Twitter page—that is some serious public relations. ZICO’s brand was completely unknown to me prior to this encounter. By the end of the chat, I found myself looking up the flavors of coconut water they offered,  the nutritional content and where I could purchase the beverage. I have yet to actually try the stuff, but if Kathryn Budig likes it…

In all seriousness, it was an amazing experience to ask personal questions of someone I admire so deeply and receive instant direct responses. I have a newfound respect for Twitter as a mechanism for bringing people together, publicly and professionally, who would otherwise never have the opportunity to learn from each other and exchange information.

Kathryn really is doing some pretty cool things. If you think you might be even remotely interested in yoga, check out her website at www.kathrynbudig.com. I’ve never seen this austere and esoteric discipline made so accessible. She’s garnered quite the global following, and rightly so.

Pretty impressive for a girl from the little town of Lawrence.

20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words From Around the World

Read Me: 20 awesomely untranslatable words from around the world | Matador Network.

life and language

It’s been awhile, but CLASH is back in action for the spring semester. I thought we’d kick things off with an exploration of language, which is, in its purest manifestation, an expression of what it means to be human and to desire connection with one another.

I remember my first experience with new words in Spanish. As native English speakers, we’re used to one word meaning one thing, and to words that (usually) maintain quite literal meanings in context. In Spanish, language doesn’t work this way. My favorite of all Spanish words is “desahogarse.” In reality, it means to tell a friend about all your problems, to share your struggles and your triumphs with somebody else…an unburdening, if you will.

But literally? “Desahogarse” means ‘to undrown oneself.’ Because that’s really what language does. It allows us to invite other people into our existence, into the poignancy of pain and beauty that lets us know we are truly alive. When we share our stories, we start swimming toward the surface of our silent, solitary sea.

These words have been classified as untranslatable. Some are funny, some are sad. But all of them rang true for me in their emotional and situational sincerity. My guess is that they’ll ring true for you, too, regardless of where you’re from or what language you speak.

To me, that is the ultimate translation.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

LEARN a new language

TRAVEL around the world

TALK to people from other countries

RESEARCH current events and crises

READ translations from other languages

Related articles