Monday, December 15, 2008

the beautiful flock of birds

this morning it was by far too cold, snowy, icy and bitter outside for riding, which meant I headed to the jcc for a dreary, indoor, windowless workout.
I did my requisite minutes on the elliptical, then my session on the mat, followed with the standard free weight and machine stuff. I waved goodbye to my friends who started before me and thus were released into their day ahead of me. I even chatted with nick about skiing at alta (he is constantly after me to join him there), disengaging from my ipod earphones to participate in the conversation.
I was on my final sets of arm something-or-others when my power-camp buddies started trickling into the room for their weight-room after spin-room workouts. I nodded, smiled, said hello without removing my earphones, and have never felt so distant from them as I did this morning.
I am one of many loners in the weight room---very few come in twos or threes---but this morning I felt even further removed.

my friend kathryn described my way of being as this: one who is different, who walks their own path. who looks at everyone else and sometimes wishes to be part of that beautiful flock of birds, but who knows it's not right for them. one who stands out in the crowd just by being who she is, her natural self.
please understand me, I am not saying this is better. this is just different.
I am an outlier.
I have walked this solitary path for so long that I know nothing else. in addition, I don't know how it feels to be anyone else, and as such, it's impossible to know anyone else's experience. but what I do know is that I am most comfortable gazing at that flock, not being in the midst of it. you may say, everyone feels this way, but it's deeper than a self-consciousness, a shyness. it's a knowingness. knowing that I think a little differently, I operate a little differently.

my daughter showed me a picture today that she took on the way home from school (amazing things, those cell phones with cameras). it is of a bird, a magpie, that was injured, hobbling along the sidewalk, allowing her to stroke its wings before hopping away.

and perhaps this, coupled with my morning experience, is what made me think of kathryn's flock of birds comment. I have no beautiful tie-in here, no metaphor that will connect my musing and make a neat package.

it's just a day to be an outlier, for me, and for the grounded magpie.

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