I've been spinning this week. Spinning about a weekend golf tournament. Spinning about hydrofracking in central New York. Spinning about an upcoming doctor's appointment during which I was to have a funky-looking spot checked out (is it skin cancer or isn't it?).
The golf tournament starts on Friday afternoon, but about that I am now tranquil. Hydrofracking...well, the jury is most certainly out on that one. Every morning there are construction men in the lot behind my house, hooting and cussing and drinking 6 a.m. coffee, driving trucks that suggest pipeline work is ongoing (more on that in the weeks to come as I get my head around this very tricky issue). As for the skin cancer, the funky-looking blotch turned out to be nothing. Never could I imagine being happy to hear, "Oh honey, that's just an age spot."
I'm always boring my family with phrases like Life Is A River. Yesterday that adage came to a sharp point when I went to the estate sale of my recently departed English teacher, Mrs. Fagan. There in the hallway of her magnificent home was...a spinning wheel. Ah, okay I said to the void. Is that what this spinning has been all about? Have you been leading me here all along?
It took me about ten seconds to decide to buy the lovely antique piece. Not only did my doing so calm the spinning in my head, it caused a familiar tugging at my sleeve. There is no better memento from Mrs. Fagan than a wheel that spins, a wheel that while in motion by skilled hands makes art. The wheel, which once sat in the heart of her home, will reside in my office near the desk where I spin my little stories. Perhaps, as I tap at a keyboard, I'll hear the voice of a lady who advised never give up, never accept failure. Her voice through that spinning wheel will inspire me: when something isn't good enough make it better. Make it the best you can. Give it everything you've got.
Just today I have adopted a three-word mantra in golf and in health and in small towns where big companies think they can move in and take from you what is yours. Those words are balance and rhythm and patience. I have been out of balance lately, my rhythm has been off, and my patience has been deli-ham thin. Somehow, miraculously, a teacher's spinning wheel has restored my footing. I imagine deft fingers that once, long ago, spun thread into cloth. I imagine my teacher guarding this treasure, polishing its aging wood with patience. And rhythm. And balance. This soothing triad restores calm when life threatens to spin out of control. Now the treasure is mine, reminding me to golf well, to write well, to live well, to take care of myself, and to fight for that in which I believe. Spinning, until today, seemed like a bad thing. Rather, to spin is to celebrate a cycle of thought that in the end, no matter how dire the circumstances nor daunting the competition, weaves a beautiful fabric of answers.