Ramadan Notes, Morning 1

I woke easily this morning, with anticipation. I had a crazy plan–since I couldn’t run during the day, I would wake up early before seheri (morning meal) and run then; after the run I would come home, eat and drink for the fast.

For a moment, though the fire in my body wanted to burn, I remembered the long day of fasting ahead and realized: I had to find a new metaphor other than fire. If I burned I would only be ashes at the end of the day.

The point of the fast is not to flagellate yourself to nothing, but to sharpen your attention, to diminish your worldly attention and distractions so you can better perceive what is actually around you. I know at some point during the month physical activity will help me towards this goal, but I wanted a gentler start. I went for a walk instead.

Through the dark streets of Oberlin. Finally it is cool here. I will now confess to you I have a dangerous fear of the dark. I do not like basements. I turn on all the lights when no one is home. On the streets I am always looking for the murderer or the bandit.

This morning though, in the town I know, the only town I have lived in for longer than two years (not including Rhinebeck, dream of a home, where I lived from 2001 to 2004), I am starting to actually feel like I belong some place. To some place. That it belongs to me.

To be abroad in the dark. To have not eaten. Looking at the buildings, the streets, thinking about what it is going to be like when I am teaching classes, walking with friends, socializing. “Am I even real?” I wonder. The immediate corollary of which: “Is this place even real?”

After returning home I ate ice cream first. Home made and dairy free, from the recipe one of my students posted on Twitter. Sweetness come to me from the strangest place. Then I chopped a pear, made oatmeal, soaked the pear in the oatmeal, added soymilk, brown rice powder.

I drank two glasses of water but I think I drank them too fast. I have to sip over to course of an hour or two to make sure it all goes in me.

It’s early in the morning and I am empty. I am grateful for the emptiness. It occurred to me to practice some yoga asana, work on a little translating. I made no plans with anyone today so I am in my house alone. My friend Chelsey is coming home from Portland. I asked her to call. I hope she calls.

As I turn from the outside to the inside it is nice to have some people around you to remind you the other part of you is still there, has not gone in the night.

Because, after all, the fast is a practice that is meant to end. Which means even if you come to a realization about the illusions and temporality of the world, the fragility of the body, you are still supposed to come back to it.