For the last two years, at this time I would have been freshly back from Wudang, all physically fittened from all that trooping up and down sacred steps, and mentally fine tuned from sitting in meditation while digesting bland vegetarian food and contemplating the Chinese classics.
Steps in the Mist
The past couple months I have been backsliding with work pressures and rock fever (the itchy foot syndrome that sometimes plagues people who didn't grow up on an island). The mental fitness is still with me, but physically I feel lost.
I grew up in a more temperate climate where fall and its frosty snaps wake you up for harvest-time or back-to-school. We don't have that in Hawaii. In fact, it's intensely late summer, the hottest and most sluggish time of the year, which goes against my genes, I think. Although, nodding to global warming, it seems like the fall snaps on the mainland are now delayed too. On weekends, I sometimes feel like a monk seal that is sunning itself on a beach. I flop around a little, raise my head now and then, eventually I will wiggle my way back into the sea.
Maybe the back-to-school memories are haunting me: I miss the rigors of stair climbing in crisp mountain air, sitting in a quiet hall, dining on cabbage and rice, and the academic studies and explorations of philosophy and culture.
Not that I couldn't do any of that right here and now, with the exception of the crisp mountain air.
I think that's exactly what's lacking.