Today is my last day in Florida for a while. I’m saying farewell to mom and dad for what’s likely to be a few months, and headed back to the cold and unforgiving north.
It was nice to do tai chi in their living room one last time, though. As I did the qi gong form, Eight Pieces of Silk, I was doing body twists. And as I did these twists, there was a deep pop somewhere in my lower spine.
A deep pop. What do I mean by that? Well, I think it’s fair to characterize certain body actions as having tones, like bells or strips on a xylophone. When the body moves or releases tension, they sound or give off noise. This noise isn’t always heard outside the body, but the noise is more like a vibration, as when one is underwater, and a large rock is thrown into the water. There is not so much a sound as a vibration, a thrilling thrumming echoing through muscle and tendon.
Some of these tones are loud and high, like a crack from a finger. This one was deep, and soft, more bass than baritone, more sotto voce than piano. I would say that this pop came from somewhere below the curve in my spine, but above the tailbone.
The result was an immediate easing of this mild pain in my shoulder, and a greater range of movement on the twists, and a greater ease of motion in the reaching down and touching of toes. Our bodies respond to regular activity by making that activity easier. Our bodies conform themselves to the work we do. Some 653 days into this work, my body is still making adjustments, and those adjustments are reaching deep into the mechanics of my musculature and bones to make changes.
It’s hard to know how normal this is, or whether this is a sign of something going wrong. But if feeling is any indication, I have greater freedom and fewer restrictions now than I did a couple of hours ago. So far, so good.