Yesterday was the first time since the pandemic restrictions began that a group of my yoga friends and I got together.
I was a big grouch–and later karma let me have it. (If you believe in such things, that is. Work with me here; this is my blog.)
We’d gathered for a picnic under a tree near the Carillion, the tall bell tower whose peak I can see from my condo. The others had driven there, knowing I no longer drive and am squeamish about indoor venues.
As each of the six of us arrived, carrying a bag lunch or snack and individual blankets (lawn chairs, in a couple of cases), it quickly became apparent what my mask protocol was: Wear one.
Of course, the masks had to come off while we ate, and after that I lightened up, confident no one was closer to me than 6 feet.
But I kept a death grip on an antibacterial wipe. I flinched when my teacher playfully flicked a piece of fallen foliage my way or I overheard a mention of a shared car ride. Or Arizona.
At some point during the conversation, Angry Me escaped, and I ranted about my town’s seeming lack of concern about Covid. Every day I run or walk, masked, and veer off the path to avoid groups of the unmasked.
When I walk downtown, I keep a mental tally of who’s wearing a face covering and who’s not; though the ratio seems to be improving, “nots” are the norm.
I went on like this for some time, pontificating about science and why our country, of all countries, is in such a mess.
Now back to the picnic
At some point I realized I was making a minor spectacle of myself. Most of my friends have kids and grandkids facing the prospect of returning to school or not. And hadn’t my husband and I just briefly visited our own grown daughter, the two of us in masks but she and her boyfriend not?
I tearfully apologized. There was no need. “It’s okay to show emotions in front of your friends,” or something that effect, said one, a retired social worker.
We wrapped up eventually with virtual hugs and promises to meet again soon.
Too much sitting makes Lisa a dull girl
Once the others were gone, I hoofed it home, waved to my Zoom-engrossed husband, dropped off my backpack of picnic supplies, sterilized my keys and phone, grabbed a disposable mask and headed back out, waving again.
Keys in one hand, phone in the other, I turned left and meandered a short way along the path. I sat at one of my favorite quiet riverside spots, intending to meditate (OOPS, FORGOT THE WEIRDO ALERT), but the sounds of screeching children from the playground across the way made me get up and get moving already.
I trotted past our building to the Carillion, weaving around the unmasked, as usual, and then ran two loops up, around and down the town’s sledding hill. (Of course, at this time of year it’s more of a kids-rolling-down-it hill, but you get the idea.)
After that I headed toward home, stopping at a scenic grassy spot to take off my shoes and socks and do some of my favorite yoga poses. (YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.)
I was checking the time on my phone and walking home when it hit me: The keys were not in my other hand.
Thinking I must have left them in the grass, I went back. I saw the indentations my feet had made the grass and knew I’d set my shoes, socks and phone down directly to the left. But the keys? Now I wasn’t so sure.
It occurred to me that the keys could be anywhere I’d been–the failed meditation spot, the kid-rolling hill loop, the path in between or the many zigs and zags I’d taken to avoid the unmasked. A kind stranger could have even found the keys and set them on a bench.
Then my brain spewed out what I thought was the answer: Not once but twice I’d stopped to tie a shoe, setting my precious cargo on the ground. Where? I had no idea.
So I retraced my steps. Nothing.
At this point, a rational person would give up, especially since her husband was in the building and, really, how big a deal is replacing condo keys and/or changing a lock?
I’m really asking, because I don’t know.
Regardless, I’m no rational person (See: name of this blog), plus my blood sugar was way low.
Putting my hand to my hip and realizing too late that my running shorts had a key pocket, I decided this whole affair was karmic retribution for my attitude at the picnic. (And hey, now that I’m writing this, maybe also for my attitude toward people in general during the pandemic. Hmmm.)
I closed my eyes and silently vowed to be a better person. (STILL READING? MMM-KAY.)
In defeat, I called my husband. He put off his meetings and headed out, bearing protein bars and an understandable air of annoyance.
Guess what we did? Retraced my steps. Repeatedly.
Finally, we returned to the shady riverside patch of grass where I’d been practicing yoga. “This is where I did Tree Pose,￼” I whimpered, “and this is where I put my shoes￼.”
“Did you put them back on in that same spot?”￼ asked my husband.
Bingo! This was the flash of memory I needed. In fact, I had walked a few steps closer to the path, all the better to impress passersby with my ability to put on my left sock and shoe while balancing on my right foot, and vice versa. (Cue “well, whoopdi-do!”)
So, we took a few steps and … my keys!!!
I laughed and hugged my husband, laughed some more and then apologized for once again making him drop everything and come to my rescue. As always, he told me I’m too hard on myself.
As soon I got home–and sterilized my phone again–I texted the yoga group, telling them how much it had meant to see my “yoga sisters.”
Their responses were heartwarming, including this missive from the former social worker, which will make a great caption if we think to take a group photo next time: “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Yoga Pants!”