Does walking the dog three times (about 5 miles total) and vacuuming the downstairs count as cross training? Not sure, but that’s what I did today for “exercise.” While I was walking on the Winchell Trail with Delia, approaching the mesa, I recorded some of my thoughts about medical terms and the mechanics of walking. Here they are, with a few edits and additional ideas:
The other day I looked up the mechanics of walking and I was overwhelmed by all the technical descriptions and the elaborate medical jargon used to describe the different bones and muscles and ligaments involved in the process of walking. I spent some time with the jargon and attempted to make sense of it. Then, I thought about it while I was walking today, trying to isolate the movements and the muscles in my body as I shifted my legs and my hips and swung my arms for balance. At what point were my semitendinosus and semimembranosus rotating in, while my biceps femoris was rotating out? It wasn’t enjoyable. I couldn’t figure out what was happening and when, and focusing on the movements made them feel awkward and forced. I wondered, why do I want to know how this works? Why take away the magical quality of walking?
Then, I realized something: we can try to understand how to walk. We can break it down and reduce it to the minute moments and movements and manipulations of muscles and ligaments and joints. But we can’t ever fully understand it and take away how magical it is. Walking is magical. The body is magical. All the complicated elements that are invisible but work together for us to walk. Magical. Even the highly scientific terms used to describe it, like the muscles in the foot, are magical–mysterious and fantastical in their almost inscrutability:
tibalis posterior and anterior muscles
flexor hallucis posterior
flexor digitorum longus
extensor digitorum longus
Why use the word “magical”? I’m thinking about mystery and wonder and ineffability. I’m also thinking about an On Being interview I heard with Marie Howe and her discussion of poetry as counter-spell. And I’m thinking about Harry Potter. I’ve been watching the entire series with my family for the past few weeks.