(Writer’s Camp, at Esalen institute in Big Sur, CA)
Last night in the moonlight I practiced doing handstands against a cypress tree on the lawn in front of Esalen. The chairs facing the ocean were empty, and I listened: no voices murmuring in the ocean’s rush. I bent from the waist and pressed my hands down on the rise of coarse grass a foot from the base of the tree, and with the momentum of the forward movement, I kicked my feet up into the air. My legs scissored and then thumped the ground, and as I stood up, I felt sap on my right palm. I tried again and again, getting closer to upright, until my heels bumped the bark of the tree. I pushed my hands into the ground, straightening my elbows and thighs and arching my back as I looked at the dirt, my skeleton upside down.