Friday, January 31, 2020

Reach and grasp

Yesterday I added some torso rotation to my mobility stretching. I should say added back rather than just added.

Wrong move. It really flared up the nerve impingement and pain. By 9 p.m. I was hurting quite a lot, and I was afraid it would be a sleepless night.

A bedtime cocktail of alka-seltzer (bubbly aspirin) and meloxicam (a prescription anti-inflammatory) came to the rescue though, and assisted as my body got to work fixing itself. It wasn't a comfortable night, but it wasn't sleepless either. Coupled with the amazing demonstration of self healing, I got out of bed feeling very much better than I expected.

I was still sore but not in pain this morning. I did a relaxed hike, walking on flat(ish) ground, a flat(ish) glacier, and up and down some small but challenging slopes.

Along the way I couldn't help but notice how beautiful the day was despite an uncomfortably cool and gusty wind.

As I navigate this nerve thing and the rebuilding of my overall fitness I find the path to be an exercise in exploring reach and grasp. It's a good thing for me to be doing. I'm discovering things I didn't know I was looking for. Even as I bump up against vexing limitations I find other places where the horizons are far away and there's seemingly endless room to explore. It's a physical and metaphysical thing. Body mind and spirit are all in play. It's living, and it's a choice. The burdens I've chosen to carry are hard to bear, but they are not too hard to bear. It all feels exactly right.

Outside it's January on the High Plains. We're six weeks into winter and nearly halfway to Vernal Equinox. It's cold and blustery out but the sun is marching higher in the sky and kissing the ground and everything upon the ground with tantalizing warmth. There's a promise there I can believe in, and the certain knowledge that enduring the day's bluster will make the warm embrace of true spring all the sweeter.

Just as there are things my body cannot do, there are things my heart and soul cannot do. But here too there are other paths to explore. Boundless paths, really, and likely more rewarding and even more valid than the pathways of my immediate desire.

New paths add perspective and vital depth to scale and context. If I truly believe the things I say, then questing for growth, and testing reach and grasp, are more vital now than ever. Some things I cannot do, and I am chained by those realities. In the things I can do, however, I am unbound, and limited only by my choice. Do. Or do not.

Browning lamented that we seem to be free but are actually fettered. My experience and my sense tell me that I am fettered and free. The two are simply opposite sides of the same coin.


Every time I read Browning I get new stuff. It's always a slog. I never quite break through to understanding. Perhaps that's the point. Fortunately for me, I can take his work for what it is and what it says to me, and I never have to do the anglush perfesser thing and force the words to fit into a communally held psychotic view of a world I've never bothered to visit. Except...

Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged.
There burns a truer light of God in them,
In their vexed beating stuffed and stopped-up brain,
Heart, or whate'er else, than goes on to prompt
This low-pulsed forthright craftsman's hand of mine.
Their works drop groundward, but themselves, I know,
Reach many a time a heaven that's shut to me,
Enter and take their place there sure enough,
Though they come back and cannot tell the world.

Is it true that I'm lacking in omniscience? Seriously? Me?

Um, it sure looks like it. Good thing to keep in mind I think.

Speak as they please, what does the mountain care?
Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.


  1. Great post!

    We're enjoying this brief warm-up, and are bracing for the storm coming Monday. We got some flurries yesterday, which surprised me a bit. Just enough to dampen the ground, but hey, moisture is moisture!

    Is that lichen growing on some of those rocks?

    1. Thanks drjim.

      We had howling flurries, especially in the evening. Looked like the beginning of a big snow storm, then the snow faded while the wind continued. I'm sure some of it got into the ground. It'll be interesting to see what Monday brings. I'd appreciate a nice shot of snow and cold to keep things in their proper (by my assessment!) balance.

      Yes on the lichen. There are some spectacular colonies of the stuff here and there. An expert-type person told me they have probably been here since before the end of the last glaciation. I don't think they care much about impeachment or brexit!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. I don't think they care much about impeachment or brexit!

    HAH! Yes, they have more important things to worry about.

    Living here is very different than growing up in Northern Illinois. We had a totally different kind of winter; much wetter and downright soggy at times. I'm still getting used to how dry this environment gets in winter. We have to water the houseplants at least once a week, and usually more. I guess it helps keep the humidity a bit higher in the house.

    1. You can learn a lot from a lichen!

      And we're in a semi-arid climate zone with an emphasis on arid. Especially in winter. House plants do keep the inside a bit more livable though. They put a lot of water into the air.

  3. However, the days are getting longer, it was light until almost 5:00 PM today and pretty soon I will not have to use a flashlight and reflective vest to walk Bennie in the mornings. So while winter still has a few big shots left, the time to do it is dwindling, which this year is a good thing in my opinion. The older I get the less I like winter. :-) However, I never will move again, did too much of that in service for 20 years vowed to settle down and be in one place for a long while. :-)

    1. It's always a lovely feeling when the days are getting longer instead of shorter. Such a promise of things to come!

      I agree, I did enough moving around then to knock most of the wanderlust out of me.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting Harold!

  4. Browning wrote poetry too? Who knew!
    Oh, you mean that is not John M.?

    1. Indeed he did! Poetry in steel!

      And that may be post fodder right there.

      Thanks for stopping by and slapping the muse in the kisser with a post idea John!

  5. You are a man of many facets, Shaun Evertson.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

    1. I see your autocorrect changed "feces" to "facets" Paul.


      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    2. Seeing facets reminded me of a Smothers Brothers routine where Tommy turned it into faucets.

    3. Paul -- Modest and also incredibly handsome.

  6. And here's me, trying to write a haiku at 0719. Silly man...

    Some good and thoughtful stuff here Shaun. What Paul said.

    1. Emotions and concepts expressed as words and extruded through the die of formulaic verse can have a great deal of power. They can certainly prompt one to essay haiku before 0800. It's a very interesting phenomenon. If anything magical happens though, it happens entirely in the reader.

      Thanks Sarge, and thanks for stopping by and commenting!