I think about this comic as a practice, the way people talk about yoga as a practice: you are never finished, you never arrive, you are always in a state of doing and becoming, which is itself the reward. Constant growth. Of course this works better at some times than others. During the early pandemic, I basically stopped doing yoga, because it didn’t feel the same without the class, the props, the teachers. When I was actually going to yoga regularly, I would resent how often I had someone’s foot in my face, but strangely, all alone at home I missed the way that a classroom can become a three dimensional puzzle, mostly good natured, with everyone trying to accommodate everyone else. I started working out on our exercise bike instead, because it took less time and did less to make me so painfully aware that I was alone when I wanted to be surrounded by people.
Last week I was busy with teaching responsibilities, so there was no comic; that happens sometimes. This week I am very tired, but there is a comic. It took some doing, but working through exhaustion is sometimes like having a person’s bare foot in my face: there is a communal feeling between me and the art, a recognition that we are both doing our best to accommodate one another and our imperfections.
Did I have more to say than that today? I’m not sure that I do. I baked a pie this week, nectarine, exquisite. The lattice top was crumbling as I rolled it out and tried to assemble it, and the fruit was extremely juicy, so the lattice kept collapsing into it. I patched and adjusted, and finally I baked it, and it looked better as a finished product than it had ever looked midway. If there is a lesson in that, I think it’s that you shouldn’t be too precious about your pies. A pie is beautiful because it’s a pie, because you will eat it and your mouth will be hit with the sweet, with the tart, puckering until the buttery crust expands your palate and the inevitable ice cream cools your tongue. The purpose of a pie is beautiful, and so the pie can’t help being, also.
We are in the middle of a heat wave, and have not really gotten more than ten minutes of rain at a time, never as much as you want. There’s always a certain amount of panic in this: will it ever rain again? Do I even believe in rain? But the doves still coo in the evenings, when the sun goes down. The lizards are still out here, doing push-ups.
What is the purpose of any of this? To survive, to persist, to find small pleasures, to sit in cool water after a long walk, and feel your shoulders loosen as the clouds turn pink and yellow and strange.