Today was a day that should have dragged on for a long time, but actually, sitting here at home in the evening, started and ended before I knew it. I suppose this seems to happen with age, and it wasn't but a few weeks ago that even the freshmen were exclaiming how quickly the year seemed to have rushed past.
Several things happened today that actually changed the flow of the normal days that I have been having this summer so far. I woke up at 7:30 and went to the pool early. Usually I go straight to work. I even packed a breakfast and lunch for myself to have during the day because I usually just eat at home and then wait until dinner time, when I am really hungry.
My friend Alex also came to my building to have coffee with me, and I never have visitors at work. I think this is related to the fact that many of my friends are not in the sciences, and so I do not feel like they have a place there. I kind of enjoy the solitude and enigmatic niche that my work bench and desk have in my life. I always think, for some reason, that if I was in a terrible situation, I could at least hide out at the lab and work. So by hanging out with Alex there today, it sort of broke those boundaries.
In the late afternoon my private investigator, Dr. John Faulkner gave a talk about his muscle research. I don't know much about his past but I do know he has been in muscle physiology research since the early 50's. At Michigan, too. So he discussed what is known about muscles in aging people. He is a good example, actually, of how muscle deteriorates no matter what you do. He was probably a very able and strong athlete, and I think Chris (my supervisor) told me that he ran marathons until he hurt his knee badly. He still rides his bicycle to work every day, which makes me happy.
Watching this 83 year old man give this lecture made me think, too. His discussion about individual muscle cells and then with his photos of athletes who do not necessarily think about their muscles in the way that he does everyday seemed to reinforce the constant awareness I had today about the complexity of the world at that very moment, and in every moment. It was as if I was using drugs but actually was just thinking and conscious of that exact moment. It seems to me that older people lose urgency and sense of trivial things. I assume I will get there some day, but will I be more powerful now if I can at least exercise that skill?
Another time I get these feelings of universality and here-ness is when I read books. Its been happening more and more as I grow older, and sometimes the sole act of reading will make me feel like my chest is exploding and the world is everywhere and no where, is in the book at the same time as it is the one that I am a part of. I am excited to get the book "Buddhism without Beliefs" by Stephen Batchelor. I have had it recommended to me by 2 different people and look forward to losing myself another summer in ways to practice my here-ness.
Right now I am reading In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck. He is definitely my favorite author, in the way that you want leather knapsacks instead of plastic ones. When I finish the book I will let you know what I thought.
I also finished my new wheelset for my bicycle and today was the first day I have been able to ride it around. When I can, I will put a photo up of my bicycles.
Oh, and Devandra Banhart's new cd is really nice. That lifts me, too.