(Although it does seem to happen on its own most of the time.)
It happens all day and all night for everything that lives, from the duck-billed platypus to the humpbacked whale, surfacing to breathe from the breathless depths. From that baby’s first breath all the way to the end, that breathing just keeps on going. It only seems difficult when you think about it, all the lips and tongue and teeth and throat and nose that get involved, the air going back and forth, back and forth, and under it all there’s this rhythmic beat that’s easy to miss, unless the air is still and silent all around, perhaps the nighttime or a quiet patch of sun. Press that finger to find the pulse and maybe you’ll notice your breathing while you do, without thinking about it. And then I’m thinking about my eyelids shuttering up and down. It’s not a machine, but it works and works and works, even when we’re sleeping, even through the darkest night or a napping patch of sun. And now I’m taking a deep breath and thinking, just thinking about those breaths. It only seems complicated when you think about it. Sometimes, like breathing, the words just come out, like they come in too, those groovy ears. Other times, each word feels like a piece of wood chopped in half, a small stack, growing, ready to burn. When we choose not to speak, that’s good, sometimes. Other times, there’s only breath. That’s got to be good enough, somehow. What an amazing thing it is, breathing, what it means. I’m still here. And now I’m still here. And now I’m still here. And now I’m still here. Breathing.