Soothe The Creaky Beasts (2009)

Claudia Sternbach: Soothe The Creaky Beasts
October 21, 2009

Perhaps it was the fact that I had to turn my entire body to observe what was happening to my right or left, or to reach for a second cupcake sitting on the table for guests to enjoy. Maybe that was the clue Elke latched on to.

And from that dropped crumb, she deduced that my neck was giving me problems.

Which it was and had been for days. Damp, foggy weather is the enemy of my creaky bones and damp and gray it had been. I do not think of poetry and soft gray kittens when the mass of wet covers the coast. I think of sledge hammers.

Would you like me to massage your neck, Elke offered. She has a lovely German accent and talented hands. I hesitated at first. There were people around gazing at paintings of birthday cakes and birds wearing party hats. We were outside in the backyard at my friend Chris Miroyan’s house for Open Studios. I felt a bit frightened at the idea of her strong fingers work on my neck.

What if she made me worse.

I should not have worried.

Elke Riesterer, C. M.P., has magic in her hands. She not only has a thriving practice working on humans but also practices body therapy on a variety of species. From elephants to hundred­year- old turtles, Elke has the touch. As I sat in Chris’ living room and relaxed my shoulders Elke’s hands began to massage my neck and upper back, head and arms with a stroke so light one would think it could have no effect at all.

And yet it did.

I closed my eyes and imagined an African savannah, lions sleeping in the shade and elephants trumpeting, waiting patiently in line to be seen by Elke. As she gently massaged and tugged on my ear lobes I pictured her doing the same for the great beasts with their long trunks swaying back and forth. Soothing them. And for a time, cold, dank air was blown away and replaced by healing, dry heat. Magic.

Back outside mingling with friends and neighbors I felt as if I had been on a vacation. Elke remained inside. Chris’ dog Milla had been looking a little rough around the edges, and I believe Elke had noticed. And if Elke can iron out the kinks in my neck as well as an elephant’s, a small bundle of canine energy would, undoubtedly, be a piece of cake.