Awoke in a foul and complaining mood this morning. First, because I’m home alone. It’s Spring Break for everybody else in the family. They lit out for the beach yesterday afternoon, straight from school, and left me stranded here with the dogs & cat & fish & a pile of grading. I enjoy my solitude, but prefer to take it in the rough proximity of loved ones. Not to hurt the cat’s feelings, or minimize the consolations of a purr at your elbow… but it was just simply too quiet here last night. The silence was deafening.
Plus, I didn’t get to see them off because I had to go straight from the auto shop (brake job, they were worn down to a millimeter) to meet with another arbitrary rejection from the Academic Committee That Cannot Be Named.
And topping it all, I have a headache.
But if you complain, as Eric Idle told Michael Palin, it does you no good etc. etc.
So here’s something to feel good about, reported in Time: A Daily Walk Can Reduce the Power of Weight-Gaining Genes…
It’s the first study to bring the effect of exercise down to the genetic level, and to measure how physical activity can change the way genes work — in this case by inhibiting the activity of genes that promote weight gain. MORE:How Exercise Can Change Your DNA
The study also documented an increase in the activity of these genes among those who were more sedentary. For every two hours spent in front of the television every day, there was a 0.3 kg/m2 increase in Body Mass Index (BMI). The fact that walking and TV watching each had independent effects on BMI hints that it’s important both to increase exercise and reduce sedentary time in order to lose weight.
Losing weight is not my issue, but gaining momentum can be. What I really lose on my daily hour ramble is (for instance) angry feelings about obtuse academics, and feelings of excessive solitude, and aches in the cranium.
So I gotta get out there right now. Sorry cat, you don’t get to go. A purr will take a person only so far, and I too believe it’s really crucial to walk the dogs – and not just for the many, many health benefits. This morning I’ll be pondering one of Thoreau’s more interesting reflections on what it really means to be alone.
Men frequently say to me, “I should think you would feel lonesome down there, and want to be nearer to folks, rainy and snowy days and nights especially.” I am tempted to reply to such—This whole earth which we inhabit is but a point in space. How far apart, think you, dwell the two most distant inhabitants of yonder star, the breadth of whose disk cannot be appreciated by our instruments? Why should I feel lonely? is not our planet in the Milky Way? This which you put seems to me not to be the most important question. What sort of space is that which separates a man from his fellows and makes him solitary? I have found that no exertion of the legs can bring two minds much nearer to one another. What do we want most to dwell near to? Not to many men surely, the depot, the post-office, the bar-room, the meeting-house, the school-house, the grocery, Beacon Hill, or the Five Points, where men most congregate, but to the perennial source of our life, whence in all our experience we have found that to issue, as the willow stands near the water and sends out its roots in that direction. This will vary with different natures, but this is the place where a wise man will dig his cellar…. Walden
Henry was wrong about one thing: I’ve found that an exertion of the legs can close some of the gap between people. I’ll probably have to walk from here to the gulf, though, to feel better about that *&%$! committee.