Friday, August 30, 2013
The road less traveled
For human-powered travelers, the road, any road, is the road less traveled. Regardless of the traffic, the streams of SUV's, buses, big rigs, and Harleys, when it's our legs and lungs that carry us, the way ahead is a different place, both internally and externally. We feel the wind in our faces, the heat sizzling on our skin, rising up from the blacktop in shimmering waves. The cold bites and numbs. The climbs wear us down while the descents recharge our flying spirits. Each mile requires an investment that no bank account or MasterCard can buy. We engage in an intimate relationship with the earth and the elements, with our own will to continue, our own straining muscles. Each ride, every hike leaves us changed in some way. Can the same be said for sitting in a car? A boxed-in chair that deposits us, blood pooled in our butts, at the next destination? Every day I witness the multitudes of the overweight, sick Americans seemingly content to let machines do all the work, content to take the road most traveled, always, and I despair. I'm not that old, just 51, and I've seen the shape of America morph into its current diseased spread. What joy of movement, what charge of spirit and soul these bodies are missing! There is a religious and philosophical point of view that calls the body the temple of the soul. We need to stop defiling the temple. When we take the road less traveled, we honor that temple, we reinforce the walls, put up the finest stained glass, and let in the light.