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Human Nature

August 14, 2010

Open Space Oak

I am an outdoor writer, yet the act of writing takes place sitting on my backside  inside.  I could take pen and paper outside, sit under a sprawling shade tree and scribble down my thoughts, hope that I can actually read my own writing later in the day when darkness draws the curtain against the call of the outdoors.  Early this morning, coffee mug in one hand, book propped open against my knee with the other, I read a passage by author Monty Roberts about how humans must adapt to situations in which we are performing repetitive motions in the seated position.  Monty Roberts is a horse trainer and has used that idea in the service of helping us understand how horses must adapt to the concept of being trained to do things that are against the innate nature of a flight animal. 

Morning Walk

So what is our innate nature?  It was easy to notice this morning while walking Zephyr out in what I still call the “open space” despite the fact that it is now an official park.  We are meant to move.  We are our own lymph system.  Our bodies function properly and most efficiently when we are in motion.  I like those nature shows and there was one about how early man functioned in the ecosystem of the time.  I never knew until then that man outran his prey.  Not in speed of course, but in duration.  Early humans eventually tuckered out the prey and walked right up to the exhausted animal.  We had dinner last night with friends and got to talking about the Tevis Cup, the premier 100-mile endurance horse race in which typically 50% of the horses do not finish.   We jumped topics to 100 mile human foot races, in which runners cover the same distance but in less time than the horses.  Very interesting.

What does this all mean for this writer sitting this minute on her behind?  It means that

Monty Roberts

between each stint of being glued to that chair, or couch, or driver’s seat our bodies deserve and call for some physical relief and the relief is not in the form of rest, but of action.  It means that just as the horse can learn to accept a saddle which must initially feel like a mountain lion on its back or load into a tiny confined trailer that goes against its every instinct, we can also learn to adapt to the demands of our work lives.  But just as we don’t want to take all the wild out of the horse and have him become robotic, we must not lose our wild as well. 

A Vista in the Open Space

No fears are necessary though, because the world is right out there no matter where we live.  Whether it be miles of open land or block after block of city streets, we can open the door and step outside using legs that are ideally suited for this purpose.  We can get on the bike instead of settling for the car, drop down and do push-ups against a bench in the middle of a walk, use a picnic table for some crunches just because it feels good, flush out the stagnant and invite in the pulse of true living.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 14, 2010 8:36 pm

    I appreciate your thoughts and observations, especially that of taking the wild out of the horse. I recently spent some time in Nevada and had the pleasure of spying on several groups of wild horse. Very fun to watch them, or travel their well worn trails.

    I love the photo of the oak,


    • August 14, 2010 9:36 pm

      How lucky to see wild horses. I travel through Nevada frequently and have not yet had the good fortune.

  2. August 14, 2010 9:19 pm

    Hi Julie,

    The best writing I ever got done was in a cocoon of a room in one of the houses I used to live in and at night, but like you it has been one of my dreams to create great, free, amazingly fresh writing out in the great outdoors. Well in the urban jungle, all I can call green is a tiny park near my apartment. So on my To Do list is a visit — Tomorrow. Hopefully.

    Thanks for the ideas!!

    — Radhika.

  3. August 14, 2010 10:03 pm

    They tend to be hiding away from roads. I have spent a great deal of time the last two years in Lincoln County — my brother is a Sheriff’s Deputy out that way. So many valleys and mountains to explore. It’s a lovely place to find yourself.


    • August 16, 2010 4:15 am

      I so agree. I love crossing the desert on my way from California to Idaho. The desert has its own breath of life that can’t be found anywhere else.

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