Periodically at work we do some community service group thing. This last weekend we participated in a trail clearing event organized by Friends of the Forest at Multnomah Falls, the most visited National Park in Oregon.
We had a choice of three crews: stay in the parking lot and rake rocks off trails, hike a little ways in and put in fencing, or hike 1-1/2 miles in and muck out the rootball of a tree that had fallen across the trail.
I chose the third option. I missed out on Saturday training that morning so I needed to get in some exercise.
1-1/2 miles doesn’t sound like that far unless you’re going uphill the entire time. My thighs hurt after only a few yards in, but that was a normal state. When my calves began to hurt I knew I was getting a workout.
I got an easy job. I had a pair of loppers, so I got to meander up the trail, clipping away at any branches that extended over the trail. Other people on our crew had the messy job of raking the dirt and rocks from the tree rootball.
A group of youngish men, men who probably spend their days in front of computer screens, hacked away at the trunk with their polaskis until they managed to separate the rootball from the trunk. With a triumphant cry they rolled the rootball down the hill off the trail.
Most of us spend our days in relative inactivity. There’s a missing element of physical activity in our daily lives. Our bodies were meant to be used, to be stretched, to be pushed to extremes. It’s what I get out of doing kung fu.