Lucid living

All the things

I didn’t do

Lay around

With the things I should have

Done

Outside the world drives by

I here the wheels

hhhmmmmm

Over the pavement

 

But there are dreams yet

So I close my eyes

To rest more

Yes

To not be awake

Yes

To look at the dreams

Yes

 

Warm in my bed

Sunlight sneaks

Through drawn blinds

Keeping the out from in

In from out

 

hhmmm…hmm…hhhmm

The wheels

Of the lives outside

Roll by

 

Open eyes

Stare up

White ceiling

hmmm…hhhhmm…hhmm

Tired

Not enough

Guilt

I have to get up

Take care of it

Guilt

I’m not in those cars

 

It’s warm

In bed

Still maybe

Some dreams

I have not sifted through

 

hhmmm…hhhmmmmmmmm…

Their doing something

 

Light streams

Around the edges

The cracks

 

What am I

Meant to do

Today

What will

I do

Today

What do I

Have to do

Today

What should I

hmmm…hhmmmm…hhhmmmmm…

 

My friends are dying

My family is dying

I am alive

And so are they

hmmm…

 

Here I am

Listening for a voice

Looking to

The white specks on the ceiling

To help me understand

What I do not yet know

Aja

The first

One moment

We make love

 

Perfect flesh

Screaming life

Breasts formed to suckle the earth

 

Eyes

Taking in

Looking through

 

Soft

Moving

Controlling

Giving in

 

Many moments later

Maybe lifetimes

Or a segment of a life

 

I had seen her

Recently

Twice before

 

Once

She cut my hair

Small talk

Beating of

Around bushes

It was nice

 

The last time

She was leaving

A bar

She gave me a hug

Said she wasn’t doing well

 

Next moment

Many passed

The one before

I received a phone call

Bearer of bad news

She has lost time

 

Once

Long before

Pillow talk

Random conversation

She showed the gun

A gift from her father

He had shown her how to use it

For protection

 

She was a strong girl

Almost like she had armor

Well protected

Her shield and what it protected were beautiful

 

All armor

Any shield

Whenever there is a need

To protect deeply

There is a proclivity for weakness

The one who made the armor

Knows that weakness best

 

Armor can be made

Of many heavy things

Armor of the mind

Is

Without question

The most arduous to carry

 

A shield

Can in time

Turn to armor

And

To a fortress

Protecting from the outside

And holding one inside

From the out

 

Before the phone call

I could have sat

As I now sit

Thinking what she might be doing

Walking

Washing someone’s hair

Spending time with someone she loves

Random things

 

When I received the phone call

It had been a long while

Since I had thought of her at all

 

I guess it happened

A day or so before

It happened

Beyond my realm of realization

 

She was so beautiful

So god damned attractive

That she couldn’t

Hold her fortress

When the world around her

Came

 

Life was so attracted to her

It came flooding

Through the gates

Like gravity

Life pressed in

Heavy

From all sides

 

A fortress can not be held up

With one hand

From deep within

The glass walls

She reached for life

She let out a scream

That went

Unheard

 

With her last grasp

At the life outside

She found her protection

The walls were dissolved

From within

 

When I received the call

There was no life

No

Warm

Perfect skin

No walking

No lying in bed

It didn’t matter

To her

That over a day had passed

From her last moment

To the moment

I knew of her last

 

It didn’t matter

Because for her

That time had not passed

 

The second

At her wake

Time passed slowly

Her car was parked outside

I had a long time

To look

The line was 25 deep

Outside the door

And growing

It streamed inside

Through the entry

Down the hall

Snaking back on itself

The whole length

Flowing

Between rows of chairs

To the front of the parlor

 

I stood in line

For an hour and a half

An hour and a half

Amongst moments

That stood still

 

It was a gray day

And the grayness traveled

Through to the front

Of the line

 

Her parents

And her brothers

Did their best

To hold strong

Brighten it

With smiles

Handshakes

Hugs

 

In each of them

I saw a little of her

How they stood

In their hands

The corners of their mouths

The eyes

 

At the end

Of the line

The front

The beginning

Were her pictures

 

She had the most remarkable smile

Her eyes blazed

When the corners of her mouth

Turned up

 

Her smile

Is what I remember most from the pictures

It’s what I remember most

In my minds blazing eye

 

The chink

In her armor

The keeper of her moments

The end

Chasing a Dream

When I got on this bike

Yesterday

98 degrees

Blazing sun

Hot wind

 

Now at night

Same t-shirt as yesterday

It is chilly

Goose pimples

Set jaw

 

Even though it’s cold

I want to feel

The wind

Through my hair

 

I am rolling

Down the interstate

On two

Black

Rubber wheels

 

Balls

 

“Picture yourself standing on a ball,” John said.

“What color is it?”

 

“Green,” I said.  Secretly thinking my original ball may have been red, but red sounds more alarming than I would like to perceive myself portraying on the outside.

 

I picture myself

On top of my ball

Balancing

Arms extended

The ball is my world

It moves under my feet

But when I’m in my element

It seems to glide

I roll with it

Perched

Giving

Taking

Flowing

 

Just slightly

Fair of 75

I roll

Two black balls

One in front

One in back

Gliding along

 

Set in motion

Guided by my will

Luck

Fate

 

A deer

Shinny eyes

Edges

Every ditch

 

Each car

I pass

May loose me

In their

Blind spot

Inadvertently

Attempt to share

My lane

 

As long

As I stay

Conscious

While awake

I am allowed

To roll

My big

Black

Balls

freely

Another Day

This whole life thing is a precarious venture.  Either you are here or you’re not.  Sure, there are points where you can hang on a thread, balancing between here and there, either through mental or physical trauma, but for the most part you’re in or you are out.  There is no you before, and no you after—only foreshadowing, legend, and history surrounding the times of your presence, for what you will be, or had been.  This is, of course, stating the obvious, but it is an obvious that holds weight.

The part when you are alive is the melting pot.  This is important, because it is easy to forget.  It is easy to slide through the days, without thought of what a special thing this whole “being here” experience is.  If you are here then you are in the center of this whole cycle.  In the portion where you are allowed to make things happen.

It is precarious.  One moment you are here.  The next you could be gone.  Or at lest that is the way it seems.

On Writing

When I was young, not school boy young, but young man young, 18 young, I wanted a road map.  Or I thought I did.  I think now, what I wanted, was a free and clear way ahead.  Preferably paved in gold and dotted with happiness and wisdom.

I saw the world as a large sometimes dark, sometimes light, forest, filled with mountains and rivers and fields.  Filled with possibilities, and also looming with regrets.

I knew then, like I know now, that I didn’t want to be sucked through life like I was in a tube.  I didn’t want to be told what to do, but I did want to be able to see where I was going.

That’s when I started writing.  It was kind of like breaking sticks as you walk through the woods, or leaving little markers to flag the trail as you move along.  So even if I didn’t know exactly where I was going, I could see where I was at a little more clearly.  And I thought that if I marked the trail properly, I could travel along it and navigate back through it.

The Wind and I

I am standing on the ground.  Over my shoulders and strapped to my legs, a harness connects me to lines and a wing that is virtually spineless.  Looking at the windsock I see the wind is basically coming from the right direction, so I take a step back between the lines and get ready for the next wave of breeze.

I hear it before it reaches me, rustling the grass along the edges of the runway.  As I feel it brush past my face I lunge forward.  The risers begin to lift and I feel the wing behind me inflate.  At about three quarters of the way to its highest point the wing pauses and almost feels like it’s going to drag me backwards.  So I bend into the harness and drive my legs harder forward fighting for purchase in the grass.  With this added effort the wing slides above my head and becomes almost static above me.

The wing will not stay there by itself.  I must run forward to keep it above me.  As I run it starts to drift to the left, so I pull the right brake slightly, and run left.  The wing and I are on the same straight path.  I am running down the runway into the wind, the wing hovering loyally over my head.  Looking up I see the wing sway slightly towards the right, so I brake left and run right to stay to stay underneath.  Again as before the wing and I reunite in one motion moving forward.

This flowing dance continues and I realize I am almost three quarters of the way down the runway.  I also realize that I am tired and somewhat bored.  I feel like I could run all day under this thing, and sure that would be cool, but I want to fly.

So as my dad approaches and congratulates me, I tell him basically what I had just felt.  “Dad I’m tired, and bored, I want to fly this thing.”

He knows I am serious, but is hesitant.  After all I am his only son, a son who he has raised and guided for twenty seven years, many of those years single-handedly.

“I don’t know,” he says.  “I think you need more practice.”

“I could run under this thing all day, but what am I practicing for if I’m never gonna fly.”

I can see this hit a cord.  He has himself experienced this very thing.  The runway we now stand on is in his back yard, quite literally in his back yard.  He built it to fly in and out of with his ultralight air planes.  I remember the care he took making sure the grass was just right; squatting close to the ground and surveying the rolls and dips in grade, methodically driving over the high spots with a roller until they were flat.

Finally, after his flight training was complete he found himself taxiing his plane up and down the runway.  Then came the final decision, ‘ok,’ he must have said to himself.  ‘This is it.’

Ok, I see this understanding in his eye.  So, I step back, shut up, and  think about flight.  Soon my father starts to assess the air.  My father knows air.  He flies in it and is aware of the signs and breath of it.  I have at this point really no idea if this is good, or if this assessing eye of my fathers will find a reason to keep me grounded.

Finally, when it seems like minutes of silence have gone by he starts telling me about how the air works above the ground.  He tells me where to watch out for thermals and where to watch for turbulence from trees and structures.  This I can tell is a good sign.

Let me tell you, that at this point I have resigned myself to leave the final decision in my father’s hands.  I do encourage him towards the fact that I do want to do this, but if he says no I will pack up my wing and come out again another day.  I do at this point understand what he is talking about, and he recognizes this, which I in turn see as another sign of encouragement.

So I say, “Ok let’s do it.”

“Ok,” he says.  “Let’s try it.”

I am almost a little shocked at this.  A little part of me thought he was going to say no, and maybe even hoped he would say no.  But he said yes.  ‘Wow,’ I think ‘he said yes.’

 We start by laying the wing flat on its top.  Check the lines to make sure that when pulled on they will come free and clear from the other strands of line that lay on top of each other in long straight piles on the ground.  Ok, the wing is ready.

Now its time for the motor pack; the motor pack is a large awkward thing, and at first seemed very hard to carry.  I remember stepping under the harness and hoisting it off the ground for the first time, wondering how I was suppose to run with this thing on.  The motor pack consists of a motor, propeller, harness, an aluminum cage with a mesh of plastic wire to keep you from accidentally reaching your hand back and chopping your fingers off while also keeping a rising or falling line from your wing clear of the propeller, and a thin sheet of plastic to slide under your ass and sit on during flight.  Filled with gas the whole unit ways about fifty awkward pounds.

After a little time struggling with the engine it fires and we run the engine up.  Running the engine up is a process meant to see if the engine is running properly and also to warm the engine for flight—a warm engine is more reliable and runs smoother.  One thing we notice during this process is that the fuel in the tank is only half full.  I am an optimist in the matter.  Affirming my resolve to fly, I say, “It’s half full, that should be enough for a while.  I’m not going to want to fly around forever.”  This is an attempt to counter the pessimistic fact that the tank while being half full, is also very much half empty.

“We don’t have anymore two cycle oil on hand to mix a new tank of gas.”

“I know but this should be enough,” I say.

I can see that he is starting to get excited about the whole idea.  As this change begins to unfold itself my thoughts are reaffirmed.

At this time he remembers that the Air Force base tower is still open.  We will need ground clearance to take off.  My dad lives about two miles as the crow flies from Volk Field Air Force base.  When the tower is closed we can fly anywhere, if it is open we have to get permission to fly.

Throughout this whole process the sun is slipping closer and closer towards the horizon.  Dad runs to the house to call the tower.  As he runs to the house, I walk to the wing with the pack on, preparing myself for flight.  This gives me a few minutes to think.

A thought goes through my head.  It’s something I heard once that Native Americans said before battle.  ‘Today is a good day to die.’  I also think of something I heard Samurai warriors are trained to think.  ‘The strongest warrior is the one who does not fear death.’  I don’t know a Native American or Samurai warrior to confirm the truth of these mantras, but I assure you these both ran through my mind at this point.

I look at the grass around me, the corn field at the end of the runway, the sky and the swafts of clouds high above me.  ‘If this is my last day, it has been a good run.’  This is the only startling thing about the revelation to this point.  I resign myself to this, and to my own amazement I am not scared.

I look up and notice my dad jogging down the runway towards me.

“They say it’s clear, they don’t expect any traffic until about nine o’clock, and then it’s only one cargo plane,” he says.

This really can happen.  I am standing on the ground right now, but within a few minutes I could be in the air.  I look up to see the wisps of clouds above my head wondering how close I could get to them, and what they would look like if they where directly in front of me, or around me.

“Are you ready to attach the wing?” Dad says.

“Yeah.”

I’m almost in a daze.  Maybe that’s not the right way to explain it.  I’m in a different frame of mind things seem to happen in slow motion at this point.  It’s almost as though my body and mind are being pulled through these motions and I am allowed to watch the process.  I do not, however, want to give the impression that I feel in any way out of control.  On the contrary, I am right where I stand.  My shoes are atop the soft grass.  The harness is strapped to my body; the motor is warm and ready to start at the first tug of the cord.  The risers are attached to my harness, and in turn to the cords which now lying in a pile on the ground, will in the air act as my life lines to the wing.

“Are you ready for me to start the engine?”

“Yes.”

The only thing I can think at this time is what I know.  How the wing handles from the ground.  My father pulls the cord and starts the engine, then steps back.

I look down the runway, and glance behind me at the wind sock.  ‘Wind looks like it’s coming from the right direction.’  Now I wait for a gust.  I realize that with the propeller spinning it’s hard to use my face as a wind indicator.  Air is moving all around me.  So I look at the grass.  I see it wave and swath, and can make out patterns.  The grass ahead bends towards me, and it stays bent.

I step back and then…lunge forward into the harness.  I pull up on the leading risers, there is a pause at three quarters mast and then the wing is over head.  This is when I realize I have not let go of the risers.  The wing continues over my head and gets in front of me.  So I halt forward progress, step back and the wing falls to the ground in front of me.

“Nice abort,” Dad says.

“Thanks,” I say, and unhook from the harness to ready the wing for another attempt.

Again facing the wind, feel air all around me, look for the signs, ready Go!  The wing comes up I hit the throttle when it’s overhead and continue running.  I don’t quite realize how much the torque from the engine wants to twist my body to the right.  I become unsquare with the wing, and the wing topples over to the right.

At this point I wonder if this is really going to happen tonight.  I am almost feeling indifferent.  If it does it does; if not, that’s ok.

“You know,” my father says.  “If you don’t get in the air tonight you still made a lot of progress today.”

“I know,” I say, and I really mean it.  I also feel that I don’t want to give up, without giving it my best shot.  ‘Well it’s do or die.’  Then remind myself that this is an unusual situation.  ‘If I do I might die,’ I correct myself.  But this is where I am, and this is what I am doing.  So I brush these thoughts from the front of my mind.

We ready the wing.  I step up and attach.  My father starts the motor and steps back.  I look at the wind sock, watch the grass, step back and lunge forward.  The wing comes up and forms a canapé above me, then starts to veer right; I brake left and run right.  It seems steady, so I hit the throttle.  The wind from the propeller pushes me forward, I correct for the torque of the spinning prop.

As I run my feet start to get light.  Soon I realize that now my feet are not only light, but also about five feet from the ground.  Ok, reality check.  I am off the ground, I am going straight and I am going up.  The end of the runway is coming and I am not in between the gap of trees that border the runway near the hanger.  I am however rising, and it feels as though I am probably rising fast enough to clear the large bush/small tree that I am quickly approaching.

At this point I realize I know nothing.  I have never been off the ground this high in a vehicle guided only by my own power, nor have I been off the ground in a vehicle of this type.  I have read a couple of books about it.  I have watched a video of some the things an instructor would teach—if I would have had a formal instructor.  I have seen a friend of my dads, take off fly around and land a powered paraglider similar to this.  But nothing in my life has been like the experience I am involved in right now.

Somehow this does not scare me.  I do not have time to be scared.  So I go with it.  I attempt to slide the seat under me.  Simultaneously, I rocket upwards about twenty five feet.  ‘This is very weird.’  It does startle me a little and I let off the gas, still not quite in the seat and start to sink.

At this point I am what might look to the observer as dangerously close to the large bush/small tree.  So I lean back in the seat and once again throttle up.  This again sends me quickly forward and up.  I am reminded of reading about the dangers of the pendulum action that can be caused by throttling up too fast and letting off too quickly.  Also of a brief conversation my father and I had prior to my take off about how to counteract this phenomenon.  ‘Ok, steady with the gas.’

I am up and over the first obstacle, but it is not time to get comfortable.  There is, below and ahead of me, a small clearing.  Further to the left is a field, and to my right the river and a wooded area.

Assessment of the situation:

I am traveling at a speed fast enough and just high enough that if I wanted to land in the small clearing now, I don’t think it could be safely done.  I am also due to the torque of the motor being pushed right.  I am high enough to clear the trees but I don’t want to be over them, at this height there can be turbulence from the trees, there may also be thermals above them.  It feels as though I am being sucked towards them.  I am also getting the slight feeling of dropping down.  Both of these feelings are uncomfortable, but at this point there is no time to think about comfort.  Thoughts are broken down in two ways, good and bad.

I don’t think about how I will react; I just do it.  Throttle up, sit back in the seat.  These two things I have already learned.  I am now going up, but am still over the trees.  I do not want to be here.  So next is steering, I want to go left.

In the books I remember them saying, “Start your turns gradual.  Try pulling the brakes down in two inch increments at first and feel what happens,” although, while reading that book I was not sitting where I am now.  I do however pull the brake down about two inches and it does not give me the effect I want.  This is still more bad than good.

Still through this, for what ever reason, I am not afraid.  I am just here.  I pull the left brake down to about shoulder level, and increase the gas.  I go up and to the left.  I have made my first turn.

I am about sixty feet above a small field.  This small field is subsequently getting smaller by the second, as I take a heading towards the hill in front of me.  This hill is where my father’s neighbors reside.  Their house is nestled on top of this hill, amongst trees that are just slightly higher than my current elevation.

At this point I know a little more—I know how to go up and I know how to turn.  So I climb, I turn and just catch the edge of some turbulence rising up from this new tree line.  The bumps are fairly minor and I complete my turn.

I am going across another little field.  I have made almost a half circle from the end of the runway.  I am about one hundred feet off of the ground.  I am flying smooth, and I feel that I am safely above everything.  I also feel for the first time something strangely close to fear.  At almost this exact moment I feel and intense appreciation for the beauty of where I now am.  I look to my left and see the landing strip.

This is when I wonder if I will make it to the ground ok.  I am, in fact, on my own.  I am, if I need to remind myself, very far above the ground.  These thoughts do not really bring fear, but they do bring realization.  I have a strong urge at this point to see how I am going to land this thing.

I can’t from this position go straight to the runway and land.  Not safely anyway.  I have to land into the wind.  So from where I fly now I will have to circle around and approach the runway from the same angle that I left it from.  This means I have to complete a full circle.

I fly straight for a while and climb gradually.  There is a tree belt ahead and I’m not sure how the air will react over top of it.  I don’t want to be turning while I find out.  So I fly straight over the top.  As I fly over I gently rise up and then come down slightly, it is not uncomfortable.

I start my arcing turn back to the runway, and as I come around I climb high above the large corn field that borders the end of our airstrip.  I am at this point what feels like simply put, very high.  I am between one hundred and fifty, and two hundred feet.

Something else happens as I make my wide sweeping turn back to the runway.  The wind which was just now at my back doesn’t change but the wing and I change to meet it.  I feel the wing, and then myself start to move sideways.  This feels very odd.  I hear the wing ripple slightly and wonder for a split second if it’s going to collapse.  I wonder what the hell I’m doing up here.  I wonder if this is enough of this for me and if this will be the last time I will ever do this.

I continue turning, check the wind sock and conclude I am in the correct position for descent.  Then I realize I have never landed one of these.  I have seen it done.  I have read about it.  Now I have to do it.  So I let off the gas, this slows me, but since I am now facing into the wind, this gives my wing lift and I stay relatively level.  I wonder if I will reach the ground safely, but quickly brush this thought aside.

I am looking down at the runway my father is a little speck facing up at me.  I do not feel as though I really see this.  It just is.  This is where I am. I am only here.  I am dangling two hundred feet from the ground.  The only thing separating my ass from the ground is a thin sheet of nylon and my feet.

So I do what I have to do.  I pull the brakes, both at the same time, gently at first and I feel myself drop.  Gradually I pull them a little harder.

‘I’m not going to force a stall, am I?’ I think.  ‘No, your ok,’ I reply to myself.  ‘Your doing fine.  Am I coming down too fast? No, this is about right.  How about my trajectory—I’m not going to overshoot the runway am I?  Just a little more pull.  Careful, evenly now.  See the wind sock, gonna have to correct left.  Just a little, that’s it.  Wow, there’s the ground, it’s getting close.  The wind sock says I’m aiming the right way.  The ground is coming fast.  Keep those brakes steady.  Twenty feet, ten feet, three feet.  Now pull the brakes all the way down! Ok.  Holy shit you’re touching.  Well what am I waiting for, take some steps forward, hold those brakes, spin 180 degrees and drop the wing.  Now breathe, yeah go ahead take a couple more good clean breaths.  Shit I forgot to kill the motor on my approach.’

At this point I suddenly realize, I am not the only one on this ground, this earth.  My dad jogs up to me; he is whiter than I have ever seen him.  His face is smiling, but tears could pour out at any second.

“I have never been that scared in my entire life,” he says.  “Give me a hug.”  His voice is almost shaking.  At this point I am more than happy to oblige this request.  I can only speculate at what my face looked like to him at that point.  Probably wide eyed and grinning.

I am now safely on the ground.  The wing is down.  The engine is shut off.  I am safe.

“How was it?” my father says.

“It was the most incredible thing I have ever done.  I want to do it again.”

He smiles, “tomorrow, we need more gas.”

“Yeah, tomorrow,” I say, as I look at the sky in a new found wonder.

Adrenaline is coursing through my body and I am feeling like I am right here.  I don’t know if I can explain the feeling.  The greens, they are so green.  The blues, the yellows and browns, the breeze and its smell, it all feels so very real.

As I walk back to the house the adrenaline starts to weaken its hold, and my stomach almost betrays my elated state.  But in the end I have made it through unscathed and I am left with only my thoughts.  I am left to analyze the thoughts that went through my head.  The choices I have made.  I feel good.

Since this first flight I have made several journeys into the air.  All have been exciting and exhilarating, but none of them have compared in shear awareness.  The only thing I could come close to comparing these hikes into the sky with would be a dream of flying.

Translation A>D / D>A


 
I have a question, so I raise my hand.  Because there is no one else around, I put my hand down before I can receive an answer.  But, I did have time to ask the question.  So, from where will the answer to this question come?
 
I look left and see a field. To the right is a forest, but I can’t see very far in, because the trees are in the way. The road that stretches before my tires is gravel, but I don’t have time to slow.  Top down, warm wind blowing through my hair—yeah, whatever…  All the freedom of the open road sandwiched between two backgrounds.
 
Of course screaming does no good, but it feels invigorating to empty the lungs, refill them and press them out again.  Medulla-oblongata parallel with the roof of my mouth.  At least the annoying echo of the noise streaming into my ears and rattling around before piercing the drum lets me know that I can still feel something.  And that thought alone is at least a constellation.
 
When I finally get there, everyone is there.  Not just everyone, but everyone and there mother.  Let me tell you she is one big mother.  She has to be in order to have birthed all of them, and me besides.  Her belly is very round.  She notices me looking at it.  “Everything is circular,” she says.
 
They thanked me, which took a long time, because though they would have liked to speak all at once, I know they secretly didn’t think I could handle it—maybe rightfully so.
 
As I walk towards the podium my heart starts pounding.  My forehead perspires.  My face reddens.  The lights on the stage pour all around me, culminating on my red sweat drenched face.
 
To lighten the mood, someone yells from the crowd, “Show us your tits.”  But I decline.  It would be delightful, although there are much more important things at hand.
 
Many times there is a point in a dream when I realize, that I am, in fact, dreaming.
 
I ask the audience to close their eyes.  “But only if you feel comfortable about it,” I add.  Most of them do.  I ask them to, “imagine that it is them who are dreaming.” “Relax,” I say, wondering whether my nervousness will project out and hinder their ability to effectively relax.  Luckily, at least some of them are trusting.  “Imagine that every time I say, me, it is you that is me.”  Whenever I say I, it is you that is I.  Completely forget about fact that I am a twelve year old black girl, and that you are you, who you are.”
 
Now this one is just for practice…  Close your eyes.  Take a deep breath of enlivening air.  Keep those eyes closed now, no cheating.  Stand up.  Raise your left hand above your head.  Pause.  Now look around.  Pause.  Ok now sit.  And open your eyes.
 
Now we will begin.  Close your eyes, take a deep breath of enlivening air…let it out….stand up…..
 
I have a question, so I raise my hand.  Because there is no one else around, I put my hand down before I can receive an answer.
 

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