Influence Influence (Retreat)

My wife said “This is my husband, ‘Tom.’” The sun shone over my head. A man as tall as I but whose hair were perfectly coiffed might intimidate, but not I—I am not so many things that others might assume—not a workaholic, not into yoga, not merely a poet, not a red-blooded American, not an iconoclast, not a proselytizer, not a know-it-all, maybe not even particularly spiritual, just full of beans, just having ideas without the experiences that would make them seem ridiculous, and not perfectly coiffed— but this isn’t only about me. I said “Here I will begin my tea ceremony,” for I had brought out from the dining room a paper cup with hot tea and the bag still in it. And I sat cross legged on the plastic chair. Soon these friendly women whom I had joined would go together into a large bare room to practice yoga, and I would continue to sit cross legged on the plastic lawn chair at a round glass table with a large umbrella furled about its pole. My posture should not be construed to have a definite meaning— except to impress the women, for I had tried to make it seem that coming to a yoga retreat with my wife and not practicing yoga was not all that strange; I have my writing book, my copy of The I Ching, and my cup of tea, which would grow stronger as it cooled.