It is almost two o’clock in a Friday night.Grace is on her bed,tries her best to sleep. Some researchers say that calming thought helps to sleep. She tries that and it does help her. Now Grace sits cross-legged on the pebbles of the bank of a small river. It is very peaceful; tiny ripples on the water, cool wind and endless blue sky. Here and there, little breezes creep over the polished waters beneath the haze of the sun. The Adagio of Beethoven’s fifth piano concerto plays in her mind, very serene melody. But the problem is that all of a sudden her calming, happy thoughts cross the boundaries. Now to her front stands the snow-covered famous Denali mountain of Alaska. All the articles that she read in the national Geography on Alaska comes alive and her hiking spirit reaches to its height. She stands there wearing her blue jacket, a black and orange backpack and with hiking poles in both hands. “ Mom are you ready?” Asks her daughter.
“ O’ yes.” Now her eyes are wide open with excitement.
Damn it, this calming thoughts are not working for me. Grace opens the bedroom door slowly and quietly.She pads barefoot to the back porch door, twists the brass door knob and walks out to the deck. The heavy night air, very humid and mild , is alive with the sound of cicadas. Thick clouds, pushed by a southern wind obscure the stars and the moon. It is too hot to stand out side so she comes back but not to the bed. Grace walks into the living room. A coloring book ‘The Secret Garden’ in the wooden book-case caught her eyes. Last month her son purchased that for her. Coloring is extremely therapeutic which calms the mind and sometimes brings the same benefits of meditation. Grace colors the pages for a while and she stops. The coloring activity takes her mind to the kindergarten class. She sits straight with her hands folded upon her blue dress. On the desk in front of her lays an alphabet book with pictures and a pack of coloring pencils to the side of the book. Her teacher stands in front of the class close to the chalkboard wearing a white blazer, sleeves pushed up. “ Please listen attentively. Today you have to color slowly and carefully only the pictures that start with the alphabet ‘A’ from the coloring book.Raise your hands as soon as you finish.” She says adjusting the wide silver bracelet on her left arm. After coloring for a while,Grace leans against the chair. She shakes the brown pencil in her right fingers and then leans forward to checks her coloring. “Stop.” Grace hears a not so nice voice and drops her pencil. She lifts her eyes. The weather changes in her teacher’s eyes.“ You are already on alphabet D!”
Grace looks down to her coloring book. Really! Wow! Now the opened page has a beautiful brown dog with a long tail and fluffy white ears. Her numb fingers closes the book. Sorry did not work. She should have done the homework slowly and carefully. She could not touch the coloring book for one week. On her watch it is almost four now. She should go back to sleep.
Door slams, the water rushes through the garden hoses, neighborhood dogs bark, the stir begins. Another beautiful day;bright and sunny. But Grace could not open her eyes although she does not want to miss her Saturday gym class. As she opens the door to leave the house, she hears her husband from behind. “ Instead of going to the kickboxing and Ripped classes, you should go more to yoga or Pilates class where the movements are slow but more effective and better for your joints.” He says while adjusting his downward dog pose on the yoga mat.
“ I Agree”, Grace replies tightening the shoe laces, ” I will try the Pi Yo class which is a mix of yoga and Pilates with faster movements.”Most of the days after the kickboxing class she returns home with severe pain in her knees and shoulders. She lays in the bed, bone tired. The fatigue is crushing, it feels as if she lay already entombed underground,pressed down by a great weight on earth so that she could not move. But Grace does not like to slow down. The word ‘Slow’ itself clouds her face like fog on the Serengeti. She draws her thumb and fore finger from the outer corner of her eye to the bridge of her nose and smiles. “A day will come when everything will automatically slow down. But now I like it better to be fast.”