In spite of what his doctor tells him every year, commentator Bill
Schubart assiduously avoids exercise. He prefers to work hard outdoors
and doesn’t miss the gym or its cost one bit.
friends go to a gym to exercise, I don’t. I really like strenuous
activity; I just want something practical or beautiful to come of it. I
love doing hard work but the idea of paying to go to a gym, wearing
scanty clothing made of trampoline material and sitting on a machine in
the blue light of glowing mercury and listening to loud music or
watching the "feeding frenzy" channel on a ceiling-mounted TV feels more
to me like elective dental surgery to me than fun.
I tried it
once. I was the only fat person there. In fact many of the people there
looked like they badly needed a good meal and a pint of Switchback. They
were busy pressing weights and riding ellipticals – whatever they are –
and spinning. I think my great-grandmother used to spin, but I usually
got a sweater or mittens out it and she never broke a sweat.
understand the health benefits. But when I ran a business, we were
warned by wellness professionals that repetitive motion was bad and
caused all kinds of medical problems so we focused on varying the type
of work our people did. It was still work though and produced a product
that our clients valued. And our employees didn’t have to pay to work
for us. We paid them.
Two or three times a week, I head for into
the woods with a variety of dangerous tools, chainsaws, splitting
wedges, lobbers, a peavey, pry bars, and an axe. I wage war against
invasives like buckthorn, poison parsnip, and honeysuckle. We don’t have
to heat our house with wood, but we choose to. Chain-sawing, skidding,
cutting, splitting and stacking is hard work. I stay out of breath and
get drenched in my own sweat, culling and cutting trees.
up large rocks that I find when the brush hog behind my tractor makes a
racket and spits up a spray of sparks. To the astonishment of my
children, I bring my rocks home with me on a stone boat and save them
for future endeavors like rubble walls, retaining walls, foundation fill
or garden elements. My family doesn’t always share my affection for
stones, especially if I forget and leave one in the driveway.
wife works just as hard in her gardens, digging, weeding, planting, and
harvesting. We both carry four cords of wood up a flight of stairs once
the frost sets in.
I don’t work because I love exercise but
because I love to be on the land. I breathe hard, use all my muscles and
rarely repeat actions.
I look forward to the next time the
mower blade hits a partially exposed stone and I don’t know if it’s the
size of a breadbox or a VW. I’ll dig it up and bring it home as a gift
to my wife.
And by the way – our treadmill is in the attic where the cats sleep on it.