Yesterday we got more than a foot of snow. Dave and I started shoveling the driveway at 5:15 a.m. so that Sonny could make it to his six o’clock shift at Target, and the day went on predictably from there. Inside for a while, then back outside for more shovelfuls of the heavy wet stuff, working from the premise that it’s less taxing to shovel four inches of snow three times than twelve inches of snow one time. Not surprisingly, when I lifted my coffee mug this morning my biceps yipped like outraged Pekinese.
The rest of me felt fantastic, though. Relaxed. My body seemed to be thanking me for the work.
To be sure, it was a bit of a change. As the weather’s got colder, and with no holiday or work gatherings to get me out of the house, my sloth-like tendencies have increased dramatically. I’ve taken afternoon naps, and second afternoon naps. Looked wistfully at the low-hanging branches of the oak tree in my front yard, wondering if I could climb up and sit for a spell.
Sloths have a terrible reputation, but they can do lots of cool stuff that I can’t. They can turn their heads 270 degrees! They can swim faster than they can walk! They can fall 100 feet without hurting themselves! They’re strong enough to keep their hold on a tree branch even when a jaguar twice their size and four times their weight is trying to pull them off! They are their own ecosystem, with algae, moths, and beetles living in their fur! They can sleep hanging upside down!
I’m similar to sloths in the less cool ways. We both have bad eyesight, especially in bright daylight. They have the slowest metabolic rate of all mammals and move slowly, especially at ground level, because of that. My metabolism’s slowing down, for the usual reasons, but not enough to justify my sloth-ish tendencies of late.
I’m all for rest days, especially after hard work. After I wrap my brain around a tricksy idea from an online course or tough book, I watch some fun TV or read something silly. Athletes take rest days; I take a day or two off from music practice most weeks so that I don’t get burned out. The problem is that I’ve been taking rest weeks, lately, from most things physical.
The Thursday storm was a useful reminder of the physical satisfaction of exertion. So…let it snow?