Anhedonic treadmills

“I can stay on my feet a whole day, and I do not weary of walking… My walk is quick and firm.” Montaigne in Motion

I’ll bet Montaigne would have enjoyed Susan Orleans’ treadmill, on those days when weather (meteorological or internal-psychological) trapped him in his tower. Slight but perpetual motion is what we need. Bodies in motion are so much healthier than at rest.

But if you’d just as soon tread in place, at your elevated “work station,” as pad the actual ground and sniff the open air, then you’re not really a Walker. Don’t tread on me. Motion of limb is only one component of this activity. Geographic exploration, changing panoramic vistas, space to roam both physically and mentally, shifting proprietary territoriality, little epiphanies of insight, new discoveries in familiar places, chance encounters, etc. etc., are missing from this picture. And yet…

The skies were threatening here yesterday morning, so I ducked into the Vandy Rec Cernter, climbed onto the platform, set my speed for 4.2 mph, and enjoyed myself. A Platonic cave-wall of muted shadowy images provided the visual backdrop: ESPN on one channel, Montel (I think) on another, amateur cell-phone video of the Oklahoma tragedy on a loop on CNN on a third. It was diverting for awhile. For thirty minutes. And then the skies cleared.

So I climbed down, went home, and walked the dogs. So much more diverting, rewarding, real. I think the dogs would agree.

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