Joining an organization or taking a class may be just joining and organization or taking a class, but, given enough time, other events may take place. It’s hard to get enough time to get to know people but, after taking tai chi for five years (?), perhaps more, I’ve come to know a little more about my classmates, mostly by chatting during breaks. We are mostly women. One man comes consistently and two others occasionally. I’m guess our ages run from 55 to early 80s.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, “Tai chi helps reduce stress and anxiety. And it also helps increase flexibility and balance. Tai chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that, today, is practiced as a graceful form of exercise. It involves a series of movements performed in a slow, focused manner and accompanied by deep breathing.
Tai chi, also called tai chi chuan, is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion.
Tai chi has many different styles. Each style may subtly emphasize various tai chi principles and methods. There are variations within each style. Some styles may focus on health maintenance, while others focus on the martial arts aspect of tai chi.”
Our instructor, Suman, is from Mongolia where most of his family still lives. He has an assistant, Marcia, who takes his place when he can’t participate due to travels or training sessions. I started out in the beginning class, which teaches eight moves. After taking this class for at least a year I opted to take the more advanced class, 24 moves, which I’m still taking today. Over time, we learn to refine our moves, but always there are the same basic formats and it becomes almost a meditation.
During these years several people have continued to be my classmates and we always are glad to see each other every week, part of the ritual I suppose. I know very little about the others, doing well just to try to remember names, although our class is usually only 15-18 people or fewer.
One woman, I think the only one older than I am, caught my interest from the beginning. She walks or rides her bike or takes public transportation, and has no car. She used to teach high school English in the Bay Area in northern California. We both go to the League of Women Voters program meetings once a month. I recently learned that she plays a bass clarinet in a local community band. Once E. talked to me about having participated in a march along the coast for the development of the coast trail. It turns out that she and her husband used to run a youth camp on Scott Mountain in Trinity County, Camp Unalayee, a camp that is still being used today. And one of their camp counselors used to work in the Weaverville area when I lived there. How likely is it that we would ever meet here in Eugene?
Another woman, younger than I am, takes the same line-dancing classes that I do. L. sometimes has grandchildren visiting her. She has beehives and also raises chickens. Three of the four chickens lay eggs. The 4th one doesn’t seem to be destined for the stew pot.
Another woman, who recently moved into the advanced class, has horses, which must be tended to every day. I must ask where she rides.
Brian Fullerton, who likes to hike with his wife, also writes. He has had an e-book for a while and recently published another one that I hadn’t been aware of. I don’t have Kindle ability so can’t read them but I read some of the sample pages (including a wonderful description inside a barn from the standpoint of a young boy)online from his first book, Cottonwood Wind, available through Amazon. His most recent book is entitled Song Across Water. Both book covers are illustrated by his wife, Margaret Hanson. You can read sample pages by accessing the books through Amazon.