“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses — behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” Muhammad Ali
Another sleepless night, or more accurately, not bad until sitting bolt upright at 3 AM as if all the snakes in my mental basket had gotten loose, making sleep impossible. I have learned to wait this out like waiting for the wolves outside my “window” to pipe down and go home until tomorrow’s festivities.
I get up, walk around the house, do the necessary bathroom things and make coffee. So begins the routine debate: Go to the gym? Walk around the block? What hurts today? Blah blah…. Don’t be a wimp. Damn, if only I were married, she would get my ass out the door, if only so she could go back to sleep. It was once that way. Not now and not for a long while.
By now the wolves are long gone, the snakes are back in their basket, and the day is mine to do what I will do. Today that means jazz: Hank Mobley, a promise to myself to write something and to get my sorry butt out of the door. The first part is under way, with the help of both Muhammad Ali and Hank Mobley, along with my vague feeling of being “in the game” when I get out the of the door, under a night sky filled with stars and drifting clouds. The streets are quiet, empty — my time of day, as it has been for nearly all of my life. My own cathedral, a holy place.
Running, now walking, before daylight, feeling it. What is “it”? Maybe being alive, being connected to things greater than myself, maybe something “simple” like looking for my words. If I don’t show up for the grunt work, work my way through the night snakes and demons, there is no dance to dance under the Ali’s lights. So it is on me to get well and get back at it.
My life depends on it.
Photo by Michael Lebowitz. All rights reserved.