I always say that Saturdays are real, in the sense that the day does not have to pretend to be a weekend because it really is --- languid and lazy, and expectant of all things languid and lazy. Sunday is the one that can be quite the faker (although I toss that word very lightly here for lack of a more appropriate one that seems to escape me in the here and now). I say that because if you really think about it, you really do spend a big part of that day sort of gearing up for Monday and the rest of the full work week. Already that is quite constricting, don't you think? So it's really Saturday that I like best.
Anyway. I have a Saturday routine. Sort of.
I wake up, and loll in bed for as long as I can until the hunger for real food beckons, usually at around 1 p.m. Until then I enjoy the endangered pleasure of just thinking of and staring at.........nothing, really. All cushy under the comforter with sunlight coming in through the wide windows in our bedroom thoughts come, and then they go; some choose to stay, and if I like them I allow them to. Otherwise I push them away ever so gently but firmly. It is liberating, having the luxury of time to draw thoughts and throw them up the ceiling, chasing after each other before they settle back inside my mind, waiting. Just waiting for the next retrieval. Saturdays sort of allow that. In between, I stretch like a cat, bury myself in whatever book I am currently reading, and then I go downstairs to the kitchen and pick up my favorite paper.
I skim fast over the headlines, and proceed directly to her column.
I love her, Barbara Gonzalez. I love the way she writes so fluidly and candidly and honestly, as if she were a Saturday herself. Because of and thanks to her, I start my day always with a chuckle or two, and the desire to keep on writing, especially and even when I don't want to. Always, her stories leave me wishing that she had shared something longer, even if she already did to begin with. Like a child and her love affair with candy, i just want more and more.
Maybe it is the honesty that jumps off her words as it plays out on the page, the very same thing you easily remember each time her name comes to mind. I do not know her personally (although I've had the pleasure of meeting her once) but because I read her so often I feel I do and I dare say that she is one of the few people I believe to have an almost palpable freedom from any fear, a gift (or grace even) I so admire if not also desire. The wise say you look up to those who already possess something you wish at some point in time to also have. I would love to have that kind of freedom, the whole big juicy slice of it, but a little voice tells me it most probably is something that can only come naturally with age, and over and above that, a wealth of experience. Like a rite of passage, you earn it, but you can't rush it. Some things just have to to run its course.
She is not always happy, Barbara I mean, but she is not also always sad. Like you and me she has ups and downs, something she candidly shares with her readers every week, but bubbling constantly through the surface of her stories is a kind of joy peppered with acceptance about the circumstances of her life, wherever it's at at the given moment. She is almost Zen in that way. Her stories, no matter how mundane, get me thinking, and feeling. That is what happens, I guess, when you read something from someone who writes from the heart. She is like a wise, funny aunt, or if she were much, much older a happy, lovable, wise and funny grandma.
In between Barbara Gonzalez and my Saturday's end there are random activities, eventful or otherwise ---- a dinner with good friends and family, a movie maybe, most probably dance rehearsals, mass. But the other constant in my Saturday is......
By a Chinese nun who seems innately good to the very heart of her, the way dear nuns should be and almost always are. I like her as a person and as an acupuncturist, and I find time in my toxic schedule to go see her because there is something reassuring about her soft voice, her sure fingers, the way each 30-minute session makes me feel. Like I can take on the world again, however big and crazy it is. I feel stronger physically and emotionally, and when I sleep at night, it is thankfully deeper. Heaven knows I need my shut-eye. In that space there is peace and goodness and light. Balance. Which I think really is the heart of acupuncture. Balancing the energy flow. I'm sure the good sister prays for her patients, too, because acupuncture alone, no matter how effective, can't be that magical. Or can it? I think it is a combination of many little wonderful things, all of which we do not have to understand individually to fully appreciate.
Pricked ever so lightly by fine needles, coupled with moxa that smells like holy smoke if there was ever really such a thing, to say that I feel so rested and calm when I am in one of her sparse, clean cubicles is an understatement. Most of the time I doze off, other times I count the needles stuck here and there in strategic spots in my body, and there have been moments, too, when I have wondered if moxa was how Moses' Burning Bush smelled like.
From her I also take herbal tea that is supposed to be good for me.
I believe her. Even if it tastes like it has been 'brewed in hell', to quote a friend of mine who takes it, too. She got pregnant. Twice over.
God please allow that to happen to me, too. I would love to have twin boys if You will allow it.
The tea tastes a lot like mud and dried leaves and a rain shower happening within a very hot day --- all that all at once, like a garden in a cup. So, yes, I guess you can say it is quite a strange taste, an almost punishing strange taste. But I don't complain. It is, after all, something I got used to quite quickly, maybe because I have to take it twice a day, everyday. And like I already said, it is packed with stuff good for me. The bitter taste should be a small price to pay.
This is my Saturday. Kind of. What's yours?