There are twenty five trillion red blood cells. Each red blood cell contains approximately two hundred and seventy million hemoglobin. Each hemoglobin unit contains four IRON atoms. Each IRON binds to an OXYGEN molecule.
Enough to break my calculator. Enough to break my heart? Hemoglobin has an affinity for OXYGEN. The more it gets, the more it wants. Each time a iron atom takes on an oxygen molecule the hemoglobin unfolds and takes on 3 more. Damn! That is a lot of zeros!
Each time you breathe (if you breathe) your twisted, folded, convoluted lungs come in to contact with 750 square feet of air on their surface. (How big is your bedroom? Take a deep breath)
Think about that next time you tell someone you are doing “nothing.” [ThePolyphany]
Choose your own adventure. If this is getting to heavy, click link number one below for a brief musical interlude. Porky’s Groove picks it up and lays it down with, “The Funky Meditation.” They walk on the funky side of life.
— Breathe in, long, slow and deep. fill your belly, your lungs. A little more in your belly, the top of your lungs… Explore your chest and abdomen… Slowly, there is room for more… fill your shoulders, push into your arms and hands. Manipulate your muscles expand your belly, fill your pelvis, feel the air still slowly entering your nose… there is room for more, push air into your legs and feet… Feel the pressure… Manipulate the muscles, fill your neck, skull, brain… Fill your mind—
Relax… let the air drift out… Repeat.
All of the cells in the body have a limited life span and are replaced on different schedules.
Except for your roughly 180 billion brain cells… Those last a lifetime… More or less…
The earliest translations of the word “Soul” equate to “Breath”
The inexplicable, explicit warning was dropped without warning in place of punctuation in casual conversation. In of all places, from the face of an elder, standing in place in line at the grocery store. Twice. So it could not be mistaken.
I believe I will take heed and toe the line.
Hey, how are you? Good thanks. You? Sunny today but still cold. Yeah? Is the sky still there? [looking me dead in the eye, dead to rights? dead man’s hand? Aces and Eights…]
[alto, stop, halt] Befuddled, I muttered, “What?” But… It was too late, back to the everyday, How ‘bout those Red Sox?He and his wife were walking away.
“Thank you, have a nice day”
“Thank you, “ He turned to look back, “Just be Careful…”
Dafuq? It’s too early in the morning for this shit… Too many people, too many faces, some familiar, some strangers from strange places, different races, speaking different languages, coming for miles around to hear me sound off in tongues.
Flipping through my worn out memory banks, more like a Rolodex, to add a bit of context, The day before at the library. I was only there for twenty minutes. I’m leaving, he’s leaving, Same time? I got there before him. Didn’t register. Walking out. Do I want a ride? He didn’t ask where I live. License plate reminds me of Van Halen, “Ice Cream Man”, but I ain’t tellin’ him that. Ain’t sayin’ nothin’, I know it’s cold but I gotta get outta this pick up truck. Dafuq? He’s new in town, got a winter rental. Not far from here. I don’t care, this ain’t lookin’ good…
Thinking take a left, take a left, cool, he took a left. Don’t say, I will “get off” at the next light. Funny, not funny, nothing suggestive.
“You can stop here and I will walk home, thanks for the ride”
I slam the door shut and hit the ground walking, motherfuck! Bless my lucky stars, and anything else that rhymes!
The next morning on the walk and I still got “Mean Street” from the Fair Warning album Van Halen boppin’ through my head; another pick up truck at the red light ahead. Only vehicle on the road. Passenger side window rolled down. It’s cold outside… Really cold… Like 20 degree Fahrenheit cold… Minus Six Point Seven degrees C, for those of you in less civilized countries.
Weather only fit for Mad dogs or Englishmen and I ain’t either.
“Need a ride?”
I pointed at the watch I was not wearing on my wrist,
“No thanks, I like walking, have a nice day!”
What was the message? “Be Careful?” Beware of strangers offering lifts? Cool your jets? Stop collecting attention?
When I awoke the Dire Wolf, six hundred pounds of sin, was grinning at my window all I said was come on in.
All my life I have been told to control my impulses but if growing up watching Star Trek taught me anything, life is more interesting running on impulse power. (I’m Givin’ er all I got Cap’n!)
That explains how I ended up finding the ‘T’ Station in Newburyport, Massachusetts in mid 2022. I didn’t get the impulse to hop the train until I found the MBTA app offering $10 weekend passes on all rails. At those prices I couldn’t afford not to go. I believe an all day subway (underground) pass was $13.95. (Pocket Change).
I worried when I saw there was construction and in hindsight, this story is unbelievable. (Foreshadowed and forewarned) Never a cub scout but always wont to be prepared, I called ahead. The MBTA answered on the first ring! DaFuq!? The woman assured me I would proceed unimpeded.
I pedaled myself to the train station at 10am. Arriving as the conductor was taking passes. (Perfect timing) He explained the ease but I was reluctant to believe. Believe I did as all went according to plan; Including the bus transfers necessitated by the unplanned construction.
I realize it is their profession but I have to confess my disbelief. (Again in hindsight) I never once paused a second to worry as I left a train, men in vests flagged me to the buses that arrived on the spot, No lines, no waiting, two trains, two buses, Ramshackle ramps and I was in Boston on schedule and in a New York Minute!
I got off the train and onto the T and decided to act like a tourist. I asked a rando where I should go? She asked if I had been to the North End? I thought, (The Nor’Tend), cause I been to Boston before. She explained the can’t miss churches. I followed her directions and stepped out the door, But soon found myself bored. It had all been done before.
I turned back toward the Common, thinking I would become a commoner. That is where my serindipitious surrender began. I had a picnic lunch, of sorts, of assorted fruits. Banana, Strawberry, Apples and Cheddar Cheese, (Vegans please) Unsurprisingly the only seat available, availed me of a sight, and sound to see. An almost life sized, 5 foot tall, China doll tuning the keys on her used Takamine.
I understand a girl has got to make a livin’, but this girl was makin’ a livin’ playing my life through song… Right in front of my eyes and directly between my ears.
Sweet Caroline, Country Roads, Mrs. Robinson… I’d had enough of this affair; I packed up, stood up, walked up, and dropped five bucks into her rolling blue bucket. A quarter of my funds was only a drop in her bucket. She was makin’ bank!
I meandered down Tremont St. and encountered another train. Asking another stranger for directions, I was directed in the direction off Harvard Square. (How do you like them apples?)
[Weird Part Alert: You know there’s always a weird part, right?]
After a half day of riding buses and trains, (no planes) I realized it was the first time that day I had to wait for transportation. The electronic sign above said eight minutes and I sat and proceeded to wait. I took a look to my left and right and wondered if I could be arrested for disturbing the peace for playing a piece of music sans headphones.
I say, I’m gonna get me religion, I’m gonna join the Babtist Church…
You know, I wanna be a Babtist Preacher, so I won’t hafta work.
A woman to my right did indeed look disturbed. She fled the scene. I supposed I found the answer to my question. Learning my lesson, I picked up my phone to lessen the volume when a man I would later describe as Indian, (Dot not feather, dressed as a casual Friday businessman. Loafers, Khaki’s and a button down plaid) walked in my direction and questioned my choice in music.
“What is that sound? (Slight accent) Who is the singer? Is he from the Deep South? “
He further explained he had a deep appreciation for music around the world and explained how he finds new music on NPR World Music Show. I told him about the cover version of “Hotel California” I had seen on YouTube performed by a group of youngsters in the jungles of Sri Lanka.
“That is where I was born! Not really, but a village nearby… There is no money to be made so you do what you can, every little bit helps.”
The train rolled up and we boarded. As soon as the doors closed his demeanor changed. He got serious.
“Listen, you do the meditation, it is just breathing, that’s all it is, breathing.”
I got excited, “I know, I know, I like to breathe real slow, I first learned of three breaths a minute but now I slip down to two.”
He didn’t blink an eye, “Then the Yoga, it is only stretching, 20 minutes a day. That is it, stretching.”
We were standing, swaying in the doorway of the speeding train. He urgently tried to explain.
“Read the Suttas, the Suttas, go to the parks where the people hang out and meet them.”
During the train ride he made these points, calmly but insistent. He wasn’t trying to get me to join any organization or sell me something. He didn’t even tell me his name. He seemed as if he had a short time to deliver a message to me and wanted to be clear.
I had no idea why he wanted me to hear all this. The train stopped. We walked along and he pulled out his phone again, Before you go I want you to remember this song. It is very good. “Way Down We Go” KALEO
I looked to the Harvard Square sign and said I am going this way, he nodded to the right and we parted ways. I guess he had nothing more to say?
A few months later I was confused by his accent in my memory. I finally searched the Suttas. It was the same script I had been tripping over since I first got serious about breathing.
Wikipedia: Anapanasati… When I met the man on the train I was still counting my breath. Now I bounce between bouncing around the room to “Relinquishing the Mind?” I am no Buddhist.
IfI had not brought up Sri Lanka, in the context of The Eagles cover, I don’t believe he would have mentioned India.
I am basic, white haired, white dude, sitting on the platform, waiting for the train. We start talking about music and he takes a left and gives me instructions on meditation? Odds were I would have told him to get bent, right?
I breathe in long, I discern I am breathing in long? I ain’t no freakin’ monk! I also have panic attacks and stop breathing…