Half awake...lying in bed this morning...still dark outside...drowsily moving and stretching as I became more awake...
My hand was on my hip. It pleased me to notice that my muscles are more firm as I've exercised more.
Then I realized that what I was feeling wasn't muscle; it was bone. The outer flare of my pelvis. I've seen my pelvis illustrated in pictures many times, but I had never truly visualized that picture-pelvis as me before. Suddenly, I wasn't sleepy any more.
I step out of the shower and see myself in the mirror across the bathroom. Twenty square feet of skin, and of course I'm noticing the places I wish were smaller, or less affected by gravity. I can certainly visualize clumps of fat clinging around my belly (I still remember the fat deposits from dissecting a cat in advanced biology 40 years ago), and I like noticing the way my calf muscles are firmer as I move my leg, and I frequently try to convince myself the the flabby places under my arms ("bat wings"--ha ha) are smaller now than they used to be.
Skin, muscle, fat: I know I'm made of those.
I've always been aware of some bones. Feet, toes, ankles, knees, fingers, wrists, elbows...these are bones that are difficult to ignore. I broke a small bone in my foot 18 years ago, and I've been conscious of the bones in my feet ever since then. In some vague, general, intellectual way, I know I have bones. I take calcium every day because I don't want to have osteoporosis.
But a skeleton? Me? My mind flashed to those images from archeological digs, the skeletons embedded in ancient graves, and I suddenly realized that there was a skeleton lying right there, in my bed, inside of me!
I have no idea why I was so shocked by that thought. It woke me right up.
Maybe I'm getting old.
Maybe I'm thinking about Nina, my friend. (I went back yesterday afternoon to check in on her, and learned that she had died Saturday night, just a few hours after I visited her.)
Maybe I'm processing some of the ideas in a book I'm reading, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, where he talks about different ways to view a motorcycle. You can see it as the thing in front of you, shiny curved metal, tires, etc. Or you can see it as a series of interrelated systems, hierarchies, that function together to create a whole.