Western, Pennsylvania wind and snow bring a bitterness and a brittleness that tend to change people. Removed from alfresco aestival activities, many people suffer silently as that brumal bandit keeps them homebound, modern-day troglodytes suffering at the brutal hands of Phoebus' captor. Many swimmers, runners, hikers, strollers and bikers give up the ghost, interring their exercise ethic while digging up food that feeds the vacuity opened by winter's presence. Without routine, people often feel an emptiness that they must fill. Oftentimes, they fill it with injurious habits that supersede healthy routines and adversely affect their aggregate health. Many people sit down during winter and never get back up. Sedentary winters turn to sedentary years; sedentary bodies turn to sedentary tears; sedentary sadness born from rusting of the gears, a bodied declination that gives rise to many fears. Without timely intervention, sedentary life can seriously harm the body and mind. Stagnancy is a precursor to death.
After sitting down the winter of my twenty-seventh year, I, too, embraced stagnancy. At first,I was restive. A walk on the treadmill, a diurnal routine, served as replacement for a summer swim. The tenebrous, frigid environs depressed me though, quite enough that the daily walk turned to a weekly walk and the weekly to never at all. I effaced my running partners, wiped out completely by indolence and shame. In their stead, a television, a cookie, some burgers and pie lay pathetically at my side, taunting me with reticence, an acknowledgment that it was I who was to blame. Mea culpa, jelly
doughnut. Mea culpa.
The spring of my thirty-third year, I was 240 pounds, ninety-pounds heavier than I had hitherto been. Exercise, once synonymous with freedom and happiness, was a chore. I abhorred walking up stairs; breathless and enervated, I scowled the whole way, heart pounding, belly grumbling, legs aching, belly grumbling, head sweating, belly grumbling, belly grumbling. I needed food. There were only twenty-steps to my apartment but they made me hungry every time. This particular time I rested twenty minutes before waddling to the stove for a batch of sloppy Joe.
My husband's name is Joe, though he is not sloppy. After coming home from a golf outing, Joe exclaimed that he would be lifting weights later and asked me to come, as he always did. As usual, I declined. Joe looked at me and I looked at him...