“No time to even breathe, not when gold is on the mind”

I am not a sports junkie. Far from it, my idea of TV usually is now and then, more in the direction of Project Runway or Heroes. But somehow, every night at 10:10 p.m. my body has been planted into our red velvet couch, tuned into NBC, watching the Olympics. I have become invested in Michael Phelps’ fight to the finish from the beginning. Some of the races have been amazingly inspirational- 400 relay where Jason Lezak just barely squeezes by Alain Bernard of France. Tonight Phelps beats Serbian swimmer Cavic by the length of a fingernail. A FINGERNAIL. I can hardly believe it and there is so much adrenaline rushing through me, stoked to watch him match Mark Spitz’s record of the most gold medals attained in one Olympics. Later watching Brazilian swimmer Cielo speed his way through the water, he doesn’t take a breath. He wins the gold and they show him from under the water and he looks like he is gritting his teeth. He wants it and is propelling beyond pushing himself forward to win. I salute these athletes, all the work they have put into preparing for a moment like this. A moment where it all comes together or it doesn’t.

I understand this 100 percent. Something inside me propels forward, packs it in, wants it all. The “it” may change, but it’s my it. I have never aspired to do anything half-assed. If you don’t play hard, why play? If you don’t give 100 percent, why give anything at all? At 31 years old, my life is ahead of me and the seconds are sprinting right by me. My life could easily be composed right now of tea, poetry and singing. It sounds great, even typed out. But here’s the thing, getting back into the swing of school has been abominably slow. I have read two uninspiring books of poetry and am pulled to keep reading until the next spark occurs. This semester involves a wild concoction of new work produced, revisions crafted and a compilation of older poems into a chapbook of 48 pages. In five short months, this is a sprint in the water without breathing. This is opening every pore and orifice to what the world is teaching or what it is saying throughout the days. What are the trees discussing? How does a casino in bocce relay a connection to all the women in my life with babies? I want to keep the journey going and yet I know it’s all going to be over before I can even inhale. So inertia battles with the call to action.

This is where singing kicks in. The meter and syllabic counts keep my ears perked and attuned to the natural rhythms of words making love to one another constantly. They derive great joy from internal rhyme, off rhymes revealing all that undercurrent of texture. Lately there is an even stronger exhiliration in singing harmonies. They feel so risky, so dangerously close to being off tune, but the pay-off is a sensation of being more fully alive. There’s nothing that can come close- nothing but writing a line of poetry that on the page is electric.

Then there is tea. I never would have thought my life would be so completely steeped in this world, but it often feels inescapable. I think the passion for tea comes from understanding how the world is in communication and contact, how we are connected through a cup of tea. These hand-picked leaves provide a livelihood for a person in China and brews an exquisitely nuanced infusion in the U.S. Love of flavor and culture culminate in that cup of tea. My nights continue being filled with tea, as if it wants to edge out the poetry and there is this need to find the balance so both are satiated. Recipes in queue edging out my weekend free moments include White Tea Sangria and a Detox Mojito, when I’m not attending the WordPress “WordCamp” tomorrow and their scavenger hunt Sunday. How to find that balance between tea and the word…

I want it all. Is that asking too much? Probably. But life is a choose-your-own-mystery-style-young-adult book anyway. I’m interested in how the Author intends all for good. So, well done Michael Phelps, Cielo and all you people out there with a dream, a drive to catch it and the sacrifice meted out in your life to make it happen.

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