The Joy of Tyson

The first thing I want to share may seem a little morose but bear with me.

Remember that interesting theology course I mentioned earlier?  For this class I am reading a book by Terry Tempest Williams called Refuge and there is something in particular that stood out to me.  The book is all about how the rising of the Great Salt Lake threatened the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge she loved, while at the same time her mother was dying of cancer, so there is a very strong theme of grief and hope for renewal.  At one point, as she was walking along the shore after a storm, she came across a dead swan that must have been taken by surprise and drowned.  Instead of just leaving it there she began to smooth out its feathers and spread out its wings.  She straightened out its long neck, washed the beak and feat and placed black stones over its eyes.

Then she laid on to the sand next to it.

“What I remember most is lying next to its body and imagining the great white bird in flight.

I imagined the great heart that propelled the bird forward day after day, night after night.  Imagined the deep breaths taken as it lifted from the arctic tundra, the camaraderie within the flock.  I imagined the stars seen and recognized on clear autumn nights as they navigated south.  Imagined their silhouettes passing in front of the full face of the harvest moon.  And I imagined the shimmering Great Salt Lake calling the swans down like a mother, the suddenness of the storm, the anguish of its separation.

And I tried to listen to the stillness of its body.”

Yes, I realize the swan is dead and it is very sad.  But I can’t help thinking how beautiful the idea of trying to connect with another creature like that is.  How wonderful it was that she tried to recreate the swans experiences.  I have trouble connecting with myself in such a way.  I think, if I ever had that connection, I lost it by trying to force my body to want certain foods and look a certain way.  I think it is that connection and comfort within my own skin, fueled by a profound love, that I am trying to create here.

And now allow me to introduce Tyson.

I may not be dieting but I still have a goal of reaching 10,000 steps a day with my trusty fitbit.  However, that isn’t always the easiest nor most pleasant thing to do.  Especially when it is cold, rainy and I have no place in particular to walk to.  Fortunately I have a kind neighbor who doesn’t mind letting me walk his young, energetic canine named Tyson.  And this dog is always ecstatic to walk out the door regardless of the weather.

Everything is so exciting to him!  The smells, the people, just being able to move and explore.  And the strength he has as he is trying to pull me this way and that.  Even when he spots another dog and sits still expectantly (I know he just doesn’t want me to pull him away) he still seems so incredibly energized.  That is the kind of joy I want to have whenever I get exercise.  The joy of not only having legs but using them and feeling the strength in my own muscles.

That is why Tyson is my fitness guru.  I find his joy much more meaningful and inspiring then a thin, angry woman yelling at me (though I still have a lot of respect for you, Jillian Michaels).  And just as Williams tried to listen to the swan, whenever I take out Tyson I try to feel his energy and be thankful to just be out and alive.

Of course, as much as I would like to, I can’t spend all of my 10,000 steps each day with Tyson.  Especially since I don’t want to wear out my welcome with my very generous neighbor.  And getting my own dog, which is a dream of mine now, is not really in the cards at this point in time.  So I have invested $8 on an ipod app called Zombies, Run!

Yes, $8 dollars is a bit much for an app but I have spent more on workout DVDs and none of them were this creative.  Basically it is an interactive game where you have to physically run to play.  The premise is that you are a resident of Abel Township after the zombie apocalypse.  The only way to gather supplies for the town is for runners to go out and get them so I am designated as the “lightning quick” runner 5.  There is also an audio component so characters will talk to me, zombies will occasionally moan in the background (very motivational for quickening my pace) and an actual story does unfold.  But I have to run to find out what happens next.  Also, the longer I run the more supplies I gather and the more supplies I gather the better Abel becomes.  So far I have leveled up my hospital and communications.

And the zombie moans really do add to the incentive of running.  My first time out, 25 minutes in I had had enough and wanted to go home.  But the previous runner 5 was on my tail and I ended up running past my house and going an extra 5 minutes till the mission was over.

And so that is where I am at.  I still want my thighs slimmer, but I want to achieve that by eating what I love and doing exercise I genuinely enjoy.  And I’m getting there.  I still have a ways to go before I hit the 10,000 step mark consistently but between Tyson, zombies, DDR with Matt on our own heavy-duty metal pad and the absolutely gorgeous city I live in which makes the walk home from school a joy, I feel I’m getting there.

And you know, the earth and trees do smell fantastic on rainy days.


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