First, I was listening to an NPR segment about seniors competing in some kind of large scale competition. I don't remember what it was called. There was focus on a women's basketball league for players 70-79 years old. Team members were interviewed about the various benefits of their involvement in team play. One woman said, "Everyone I know is dead or in a wheelchair. In my opinion, they're dead because they didn't move."
Well, shit. It doesn't get much clearer than that, does it?
The second is rather more nuanced. Next week, I am going to an event to hear Rebecca Solnit read from her new book, but, shamefully, I have never read anything by Rebecca Solnit. That seemed, well, rude. So, I went to the library and settled on A Field Guide to Getting Lost, which is a very lovely book. As someone who has been watching television for weeks on end and who, in general, reads far more fiction than nonfiction, I appreciate the nearly physical sensation of reading it. It is as though my mind, having been narrowly confined, is allowed not only to roam at will, but also to lie still and stretch itself. Oh, hey. This must be why people are so excited about Rebecca Solnit. I sure am glad I'm going to her reading.
She addresses the way in which we perceive distant things as blue--a faraway mountain range, the horizon, etc.-- and describes seeing a view of San Francisco (where she lives) from far enough away that it is blue-tinted and unreal, like the perfect city of a dream, and she is filled, irrationally, with longing to live there. She goes on to examine the human experience of desire.
We treat desire as a problem to be solved, address what desire is for and focus on that something and how to acquire it rather than on the nature of desire and sensation of desire, though often it is the space between us and the object of desire that fills that space with the blue of longing. I wonder sometimes whether with a slight adjustment of perspective it could be cherished as a sensation in its own terms, since it is as inherent to the human condition as the blue of distance. [...] For something of this longing will, like the blue of distance, only be relocated, not assuaged, by acquisition and arrival, just as the mountains cease to be blue when you arrive among them and the blue instead tints the next beyond.
Less prescriptive certainly than "go to the damn gym or you will die" but no less worth pondering for that.