I quake and lean, my knees knobbly against the bricks just under my purple flowered yoga mat. The sun is brightening on my back as I wobble into plank pose. The instructions come from the screen, from my teacher in Holland, as all of her students – old friends of hers, reuniting from Los Angeles, Vancouver, Minneapolis, New York City and San José, Costa Rica – follow her lead with varying doses of grace.
It’s Saturday. Whatever that means.
The baby thrushes who hatched last month are talking to each other in the trees beyond, a distinctive chirp I’ve come to know. On the screen, children come and go. A tiny Californian clinging to his mother’s back as she attempts a post-breakfast cat and cow. A Dutch-Costa Rican with tousled curls wandering into the frame for a good-night kiss in Rotterdam. My own girl riding a pink unicorn around the living room and jumping over my yoga blocks as dressage obstacles. The faint sound of cartoons ripples in and out of our consciousness, the footsteps of husbands. They make lunch and manhandle children as their wives roll around on the floor. With varying doses of grace, the husbands and the wives both. Grace that comes and goes, surging forth one moment, lost the next.
There is one other woman on the call from my city: I hear my yiguirrös sing just a few feet away, then the same kind of bird in her garden across town, then mine again. I wonder for a moment if they are talking to each other. I get distracted from the class by a massive wave of wind through the trees. I snap back to attention. I bend. I creak.
It is finally time for us to sit and close our eyes. We sit in our nests, all of us. I contemplate mine: it is made of rolled-up academic degrees, little scraps of inherited cashmere, hand-me-downs, purchases both wise and silly. Twigs that are hard-won, twigs that are the product of luck. I did not build it myself – not from scratch. I don’t deserve it. In that, I am not alone.
I don’t always appreciate this nest of mine. Sometimes it feels scratchy. Some of the twigs are broken from the other night when I threw it against a wall after reading the news. Some of the wisps of cashmere are melted into little points from the time last week when I tried to disinfect the nest in the microwave. The whole thing smells of hand sanitizer.
Sometimes, like right now, I do appreciate it. In April 2020, those moments dominate. I rock to and fro on my hip bones and am grateful for every bit of my nest, every uncomfortable brick and every wall and roof tile of the house, as I should be. My friends flicker in front of me in their pixelated boxes, and I am grateful for the sight of them: a torso, a knee, a blank screen where one mom has followed a small person out of view. It has been a hard week for everyone, worse for some than others, worse than we ever saw coming. So much better than it might be. We stop peering over the edge of that abyss for a bit and just do what we’re told.
The birds sing. The cartoons murmur. Tomorrow is Sunday, and my friend in Holland tells me to kneel, to arch my back, to look towards the sky. So I do.
Join me tomorrow morning!