Monday, February 04, 2008

Luge 'em and leave 'em

With very limited time for outdoor exercise and recreation, skiing or snowshoeing seemed like they would need too much preparation time. Laurie pulled the plastic sleds out of the shed and we started making runs down the little knoll on which our house sits.

We established two general tracks. It took a few runs to set courses that avoided things like trees and bramble bushes. Like kids, we whooped and hollered and compared distance. As we made run after short run, we climbed the knoll many times. In this way we passed an unstructured hour of play.

I'd like to say a sense of carefree, childlike wonder overtook us, but that seldom happened to me even as a child. I've been worried about the future for as long as I can remember. I distinctly recall being ten years old, in the back yard in Maine, wondering what I would find to do that would earn me enough money to enjoy life and have a decent retirement. History will show that I never found it. Sometimes it's like that. Humans are the only species that retires. We made that shit up. Other life forms just live until they die, doing whatever they can. But at ten years old, I had not had time to think about the validity of the human model, only to consider my odds of doing well in it.

Regardless of the fact that I was not magically transported to a timeless land of youthful innocence and optimism, I still had fun and got a little exercise. Those were the objectives. I typically require more, but Mondays have turned into my biggest rest days. I crawl out of the work week feeling surprisingly drained. I blame the long drive and chronically short sleep. Whether I'm busy at the shop or not, I have to be there, awake and ready to focus on whatever might walk through the door or call on the telephone. Anything I might be doing to pass the time, however important to me, I must drop on the instant to attend to a customer's urgent need for Kleenex, socks, wax advice or $800 worth of high end ski gear.

For someone who does not require a rich diet of strenuous exertion, an hour of running up and sliding down the sledding hill is vastly better than nothing. If something is fun, it tends to get done. So think about chucking the serious adult fitness activities (or the unfulfilled intention to pursue them) and maybe just run around on the playground for an hour. Just be sure to do it daily, or nearly so, for it to do any good. We were built to run around, not sit around.

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