It’s barely sprinkling when I leave the dance studio. Only a few stray drops remain of what was 20 minutes ago, a torrential downpour. In my car, I check my phone and there’s a text message from Deanna: “It looks really dark out west of downtown. I’m on my way to pick up a couple of fosters.”
I dial her up to discuss our plans for the evening. It’s pouring where she is and just clearing in my area, but we’re both at least 10 miles from downtown. The event information says rain or shine, and we both agree we’re not doing yoga in the rain!
Every year for the past five, on the Summer Solstice, hundreds of yogis descend on the city center, Monument Circle, to downward dog in celebration of the yoga community in Indianapolis. It looks like this year might be the first to be rained out.
“Either way,” I tell her, “I’m heading down to your house, at least to see the kittens.” And right about that time, I drive into another storm. My windshield wipers whack back and forth barely keeping up. Well, so much for yoga on the circle. I’m feeling a little bummed, because it was the first time I was free to go. Before it was always work or out of town, or some other important reason keeping me away. I decide to visualize cuddling kittens instead. That thought is worth the drive alone.
I stop by my house to pick up my mat and a La Croix. When I come back outside, the rain has stopped and the sky is clearing. I wonder what it’s like downtown. back in my car again, I text Deanna, “on my way.”
“It’s sunny here,” she texts back.
Giant pillow-puff clouds fill the cornflower blue sky as I turn onto her street. For the past week, I’d been worried about doing yoga in the intense sun and heat, but now those fears melted away. The temperature, which had been in the mid-90s all week, hovered right at 72 degrees. Everything seems too good to be true.
After taking a quick peek at the kittens huddling like two lost souls at the back of their cage, we straddle our bikes and ride off toward the center of town, hoping the rain stays away. We’re late because we didn’t rush, completely convinced that the rain would ruin our plans.
We arrive downtown at 6:56 and quickly chain our bikes together. We find an open spot right up front and roll out our mats. The MC for the event stands behind an awning to protect the musicians and although we can’t see her, we can hear her introduce the seven yoga instructors who will lead the class. I sit on my mat in awe. The sky is gorgeous, the temperature sublime and the energy all around is electric.
A rainbow of yoga mats placed side-by-side like a patchwork quilt take the place of this historical brick-lined street. Men, women, children of all shapes, sizes, and colors begin lifting their hearts to the sky as they embark on their first round of sun salutations. Each breath, stretch and release is accompanied by Cathy Morris on violin.
We move in unison as one instructor, then another, and another leads the largest yoga class of their lives. They talk us through each sequence and encourage us to tune in to our bodies and open our hearts and minds to a larger universal presence. And in a few choice moments, one instructor suggests we reach out and touch a neighbor. Hold hands and rise up together, a community of people sharing one purpose.
Lying on my back just before Savasana, I stare up at the Soldiers and Sailors monument. The sculpted shapes are dark now against the backdrop of the blue sky that surprised us all. At the very top, a drone hovers taking pictures of us down below. I wave, even though I know that no one is really watching from up there. I close my eyes and imagine myself supported by and part of something much, much greater.
Back on our bikes, we pedal quickly under skies filling with grey clouds, hoping we can make it back before they reach us. We pass under the highway and in the distance a larger darker band of storm moves toward us. Not a drop has fallen when we lock up the bikes and go inside to find the kittens.
Sitting on the kitchen floor, we each take a kitten and try to teach them about the benefits of human touch. The two little girl kittens Emily and Charlotte aren’t convinced. But we persist, stroking their heads, and ears and backs.
Outside the kitchen window we hear the rain now tearing through the sky, soaking the streets upon which we just passed. We made it against all odds and it was worth every ounce of belief that it would happen despite appearances. I think about the miracle of a two-hour window we were granted on this summer solstice, when we got to practice yoga together, outside, in the lengthening shadows of skyscrapers.
What’s the most incredible surprise that’s happened to you? Tell me your story below in the comments. And thanks for reading. Til we meet again…
In Life and Love,