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Cartwheels March 3, 2010

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

And you know that you’re over the hill when your mind makes a promise that your body can’t fill. —Little Feat

Happy birthday Kate.
May sun and love shine on you.
Great day for cartwheels.
—Tracey, aka Beatrix Kiddo, writer of haikus

Hello, my name is Indigo Bunting, and until yesterday, it had been three months since I’d turned a cartwheel.

I don’t turn cartwheels very often. But I like to think I still can. I like to think I’ll always be able to. I’m a little deluded that way.

Three months ago, Christine (aka Fat Red Ant to some of you, with whom I have turned cartwheels before) and I were at the gym in one of Aaron’s classes when we decided it was time to check in on our cartwheeling prowess. Good to go.

Several years before, to celebrate our birthdays (we were born about two weeks apart), we turned cartwheels in a bar. At least, I think it was in celebration of our birthdays. We were there late, enough of the crowd had disappeared, and talk turned to still being able to turn a cartwheel. Christine’s lil sis Tracey (aka Beatrix Kiddo to some of you, who was tending bar at the time) starting pushing some tables out of the way. And Christine turned a cartwheel. And I did. And Leslie did. And I believe Tracey did. And Tim attempted it. And George didn’t. And Elizabeth didn’t. And . . .

I wonder if it was actually Leslie’s birthday.

And I kind of forgot about the cartwheel-on-your-birthday thing until yesterday it was my birthday and Tracey posted the above haiku on my Facebook wall. I had already been thinking about posting the Little Feat “Old Folks Boogie” line as my status update, so I did that. And then I thought about how best to incorporate a cartwheel into my day.

I took the day off from work, which is very unlike me. I put on my level earrings. I went ice skating in the morning. My body was fulfilling its promises.

I did errands and went out to lunch and drove home to unload groceries and do a few more things before my 4:00 appointment. Still thinking about where to turn the cartwheel.

It’s not that I can’t do one in the house. It’s just that it’s tight, with all the furniture in the room. Accuracy would be essential. Plus, I was alone. I’ve had back pain lately—what if I didn’t make it? I’d be lying there a couple of hours before someone found me.

Same problem outside, or anywhere I’d be alone. Plus, with all the melting snow and grit and mud, turning a cartwheel outside was not very appealing.

So I decided to swing by the gym on the way to my 4:00—to the big classroom, the scene of my last cartwheel crime. There would be no classes in there til later in the day. And then, if something happened to the crazy old lady turning a cartwheel, someone would find her.

Reader, I checked in at the desk, went to the classroom, and turned two cartwheels.

My lower back hurt through each turning. But I did it.

Damn this lower back! I wanted to leave that gym thinking very highly of my 48-year-old body and its abilities. I mean, I surely can’t complain, but that’s not the way a cartwheel is supposed to feel.

Still, I did it.

And then I went for my birthday massage, which ended up not being all about pleasure but all about pain, as my chiropractor has decided that my iliopsoas should be worked on and considered before we resort to x-rays. I knew going in it would be rough. When someone digs into my iliopsoas, it’s hard not to scream.

But afterward, back home, there was cake and ice cream. Sun and love did shine on me yesterday. And truly, it was a great day for cartwheels.


1. Eulalia Benejam Cobb (Lali) - March 3, 2010

Never having even attempted a cartwheel, I’m impressed! Again, happy birthday, Indigo. A question: can a person who turns cartwheels in a bar call herself an introvert?

2. indigo bunting - March 3, 2010

An answer: Yes. Yes, she can.

3. Mali - March 5, 2010

I am in awe. I watched a recent Amazing Race episode when the contestants who had to turn a cartwheel. I know at that stage I would have had to admit defeat, and say goodbye to a million dollars! (Though to be honest, I’d have probably had to do that after the bungy jumping off a dam episode).

4. Helen - March 11, 2010

Wow, I have never been able to do a cartwheel so I am doubly, triply, maybe even quadruply impressed. Maybe now is the time (for you) to run away and join the circus. HAPPY BIRTHDAY INDIGO!

5. indigobunting - March 11, 2010

Mali: I have never seen the Amazing Race, although I’ve heard people I respect tell me it is pretty good. Turning a cartwheel on that show? I’m impressed. I thought it was ALL bungee jumping. Which I cannot imagine I would ever do.

Helen: Perhaps I will join the circus. There will be the REAL acrobats, of course, and then I’ll be the “48-year-old woman who can still turn a cartwheel.” Imagine the ticket sales!

6. Wayne - March 11, 2010

IB – I would buy tickets for that. Oh my yes, I would buy tickets for that.

7. Lisa - March 12, 2010

i have never done an actual cartwheel. but perhaps i should try.

8. susan365 - March 16, 2010

I am so glad to see many others here who, like me, have never done a cartwheel. I never even thought to attempt one until I watched my daughter Gillian doing them with ease. But by then it was too late (and I was perhaps four or five years younger than you). Good for you, IB!! And the happiest of birthdays.

9. Adam Byrn Tritt - March 19, 2010

I have never attempted a cartwheel, but I am convinced I can do other things I can, in fact, not. I am convinced I can skate. I will try it again as soon as I heal.

I once ice skated. As I made it around the rink for the first time, after about an hour, all on my feet as opposed to my backside, a group of girls stated singing the theme from Greatest American Hero. (Believe it or not…)

As far as your iliopsoas, there are stretches for that which would do well for you and not cause pain.

As far as your birthday, how could I miss that? Happy Birthday.

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