The Meaning of Life

Well that’s an attention getting title if there ever was one. But seriously, let’s not be serious, that’s a good place to start. As you can tell from cruising over my site and my entries, I try hard to avoid seriousness as there tends to be ample amounts of it served up for free.

Anyway my wee story that I would like to share had me thinking about the true meaning of things –– okay maybe not the absolute truth but humour me for a moment.

I’ve been going off to Saturday morning outdoor yoga this summer. My serious side says I should be putting together and marketing my own fitness/ HIIT thing in some park, screaming at sweating victims and collecting some much needed cash in a coffee tin. But, anyway, I guess I just went with the flow and that other stuff may happen at some point. Anyway I really like being a student or a participant. I love workshops and stuff where someone is teaching me or telling me what to do. I am in there. (Judging by my high school marks this might not be apparent and I wasn’t into desk sitting back then nor am I now — I am an on-your-feet kind of learner.)

Anyway, there we all are on that sultry August morning, humid, cicadas and tree frogs telling us that it is going to be another steamy day. I brought my “man’s best friend” along for fun, as some others in the group do. There is a bit of maintenance: shade, water, a toy, something to chew on, a treat or two. Even so my buddy likes to put on a bit of a show. He loves attention. He loves to show how loud he can bark, unprovoked. But each session has gotten a bit more manageable. He takes care of his needs and stares at the trees and the neighbouring field in case a bunny should appear.

When my guy gets happy, and there are certain times, he humps me. He is not trying to dominate me, or be the boss or anything else. In moments when we’ve had a blast, at the end of his agility class, after a swim at the beach, and now yoga. Who wouldn’t be happy at these times?

So, in my early years as a ballet dancer, there were serious things to worry about like flexibility, strength, how many pirouettes, how high could you jump. These things seemed to be life and death. I thought of this on my yoga mat the other day as I was trying to get a flat back forward maybe touch my forehead to my knee. I also thought about earlier yoga classes I’d taken a couple of decades ago and the subtle competitiveness and seriousness there, in our lululemon, toe rings and designer mats.

I was thinking of this because on Saturday, as I reached for my toes in a sitting position, leaning forward, there appeared a somewhat heavily chewed red dragon at my ear, accompanied by warm breath and chewing sounds. The dragon had come alive and was getting a good going over by the poodle. But his was not the only activity in our corner of the field. Soon the dragon slayer climbed on my back and yes, started to hump me. There, with other yogis concentrating on their breath, their posture (and what to pick up at the new local bakery following the class). I had to laugh. I was being mauled by a dragon toting poodle, happy beyond belief.

And for my part I saw that for me, this really was the meaning of life. There would be time for all the other stuff, but for that moment I just had to soak it all up. Craziness. There would be plenty of time to find my centre and touch my toes, but there is only so much time to laugh and this was one of those moments. I hope in some way finding your core or your abs can be as enjoyable. After all, laughter will give you great abs, just try it with your hand on your stomach. See?!

Published by: Andrew Binks

I am a writer living in rural Ontario, 2 hours east of Toronto. I was born and raised in Ottawa but spent the last 15 years in BC. Glad to be back. My first novel, The Summer Between, was published in 2009 by Nightwood Editions. My website is www.andrewbinks.ca My fiction and non-fiction have been published in Joyland, Galleon, Fugue, Prism International, Harrington Gay Men's Literary Quarterly (U.S.), Bent-magazine, The Globe and Mail, and Xtra, among others. I am a past honorable mention of the Writer's Union of Canada's short prose contest, Glimmertrain’s Family Matters contest, finalist in the Queen's University Alumni Review poetry contest, and This Magazine’s “Great Canadian Literary Hunt.” My poetry has also appeared in Quill's “Lust” issue and Velvet Avalanche Anthology. Harvard Square Editions will be publishing a chapter from one of my novels in their upcoming anthology "A Voice from the Planet," this fall. My satirical play, Reconciliation, about Native land claims, Japanese internment, and political corruption, was read this spring in Toronto as part of the Foundry play-reading series. My play Pink Blood received a public reading, from Screaming Weenie Productions in Vancouver this June. I spoke at the AWP conference in New York City in 2008 on the merits and challenges of multi-genre writing programs.

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