This year I have also taken up the practice of yoga.
I go twice a week and I have made a deal with myself that if I go to yoga then I don't have to mediate, since yoga itself is its own form of mindfulness training. It's difficult to think of anything else as one transitions from Cobra to Downward Facing Dog to Warrior A.
And yet some weeks ago, before class had started, as most of us were enjoying our last moments before we would start our contortions, there was a buzz of conversation floating among the room. Everyone was passing along the same story: at that moment there was an airplane that kept circling the local airport and it kept circling because its landing gear would not come down.
"Just imagine what those poor passengers must be feeling right now" spoke a woman sitting on a mat behind me.
And then class began and it was difficult not to think of anguish of the passengers high above us despite the complaints of my limbs.
My worry for the passengers during that class lasted longer than the ordeal that they themselves were put through. After 20 minutes of circling, the plane landed without incident.
The whole incident brought back a childhood memory. I remember being struck by this particular passage from Watership Down:
There are skylights at the yoga studio. I let myself get distracted by looking though them into the blue or watching the clouds. Sometimes I see airplanes pass before my line of sight. Sometimes I see vultures.