Straight and Narrow

A crane is poised, one dramatically elegant leg up, one down.  Right in the way that we expect free animals to be right, right with itself, and the world, and the now.  “Ortho” right: straight, correct, orthodox.  On Saturday I saw this crane sculpture, about eight inches high.  Dark metal.  A neck straighter than nature usually permits, and a suave body.  I felt pretty out of whack in comparison.

Wild animals should be afraid all the time, yet we often use them as examples of centered calm.  They should be afraid of cars, bigger animals, hungrier animals, finding food.  It they are graceful, it’s only because they have peace concurrent with danger.  They are never safe.  The price of wildness is peril.  My crane didn’t look concerned, although he should have been.

When I went to the neurologist last week, she asked if I had ever been hit on the head.  Like during sports.  I said, goodness, no, and she said, “Well of course, you don’t look like you play sports.  Tennis, maybe.”  I should have told her I was a ballet dancer, except that I can’t touch my toes.  “You’re all hunched over,” she added.  “Your spine curves some.”  I had pretty much forgotten that.

In my quest last week to get “straightened out,” I also got a massage.  Did I mind being “adjusted”, as well?  I was willing to give it a try.  Once I was all noodly from being rubbed down, she told me to take a deep breath, and then she broke my neck with a snap.  Whoa! I said, “Let’s not do that again.”  I didn’t come here to get the crap scared out of me.  I am, apparently, unadjustable.

My shoulders are definitely uneven.  I was flagged by my elementary gym teacher on scoliosis screening day.  My parents marched me down to KU Med.  I could tell they were worried.  The doctors found my curvature too minor too warrant a brace or surgery, and my mother was sold on the yoga treatment.  I did a little yoga and hated it.  I was not broken.

There are others in my family who are crooked.  We are crooked, and okay.  Maybe a little extra padding in one shoulder, when you get a suit tailored.  Maybe you stand on one hip, like a fashion model.  We are not cranes, not ship masts, not Ponderosa pines, yardsticks, not orthodontically straight or chiropractically straight.  Sometimes worried.  And kind of wild.

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