As I rode my bike through the Spanish moss tunnel, the live oaks protected me from the afternoon rain. There was just enough chill in the air for my green hoodie.
I saw a little pond I never noticed before, in the middle of a neighborhood, and decided to stop for some qigong. I saw folks nearby playing cards, and others laughing under the roofed picnic area, easy-Sunday-morning style.
Kickstand out, I parked, scoped the trees, and found a perfect little flat area to stand. I began:
I listened for the f u r t h e s t sound I could hear
I looked five miles ahead
on the horizon
That’s when I locked eyes with a 7-foot alligator, some 30 feet away. My heart jumped a beat. It was fully out of the pond, facing my direction. Its long scaly tail looked extra shiny in the light rain.
Now, I was not too shocked, because it’s Florida. “If there’s water, they’ll be gators.” But still, this was in a neighborhood park, with kids just over the way, and people so close you could hear them shuffling the deck. Normally I head over to the Prairie to be this close to the alligators, and there’s a dip down to where they like to hang out, (it’s not much in terms of protection, but it calms me down.) I remembered the fact that if an alligator runs toward you, they might be able to reach 35 mph, but they can’t zig-zag. I smiled, cuz it didn’t look like this gator was going anywhere fast.
I found my breath again, unclenched my jaw, and continued.
my hands glided up …in slow motion
and floated….back down
like two clouds
then they rose again
Gator watched my every move.
slowly… I pressed a ball of qi forward —
moving steady as thick honey
when — BOOM! The gator jumped STRAIGHT UP in the air, landed completely backward, then flung itself into the pond — all in one motion. It was the fastest I’ve EVER seen a gator move.
I burst out laughing. Apparently, my ball of qi was a bit much for the beast. I wasn’t planning on blasting the gator, I was just practicing moving energy forward, I didn’t expect the gator to feel it some 30 feet away!
Finishing my practice, I flipped my hood overhead, hopped back on my cruiser, and rode past the three men under the picnic area roof. They let me know they’d witnessed what just happened.
As I nodded a friendly hello, I was met with a little “All right now…..” approval and a bit of, “What da hell was that?”
I kept riding, with a big smile on my face. I was feeling extremely grateful for how qigong gives me magical moments in nature on the regular.