Exercise | Fitness | Hiking | Nature | Travel | Walking

A Measure of Health

“Nature says thou shalt keep the air, skate, swim, walk, ride, run. When you have worn out your shoes, the strength of the sole leather has passed into the fibre of your body. I measure your health by the number of shoes and hats and clothes you have worn out. He is the richest man who pays the largest debt to his shoemaker.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Those Concord folks were walkers, weren’t they? Ralph and Henry wandered about, wearing out shoes and building big thoughts. There are a couple of versions of that Emerson quote above, but some online research makes me believe these were his words. I like the alternate quotes just fine, but when I start quoting people I’d like to have it right. I love the idea of transferring the strength of the shoes into the fiber of your body. It applies just as well with shoes as it does time and sweat equity invested in other worthwhile things.

I’m wearing out shoes more quickly lately. My feet took a beating last year, ankles and knees too, but they merely paid it forward to my heart and soul. Over time the body adjusts and stops complaining about taking another step and just goes. It’s a bit like writing and washing dishes and making the calls, you just teach yourself that there’s joyful bits in every moment of doing.

I’m a collector of joyful bits. On my deathbed I won’t regret not finishing Breaking Bad, but I’ll surely regret not seeing the Northern Lights or the Southern Cross should I not see each. The last year is a reminder to not take mobility for granted. Wearing out more shoes seems a great goal for our next normal. The correlation seems apparent. Wearing out your gear is an easy measure of your physical and mental health. So lace up; we have places to go.

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