Saturday, March 16, 2013

Burly

It's odd, and disturbing somehow, to see how punctiliously my fat deposits stand upon the order of their going. For a couple weeks my face and thighs slimmed down, while my waistline didn't budge a millimeter. Then suddenly last week, apparently, the order went out to start releasing the belly fat. My jeans are suddenly loose: my suspenders are not ornamental, now, but deadly practical. It's one of those times when I become aware of my body as a self-regulating machine, making complex operating decisions that it doesn't bother to consult me on. The bozo up there in the cerebral cortex doesn't have the slightest idea how to run a body: he's like one of those vapid network anchors “commentating” at the Olympics. Yah, like you know what it takes to throw a javelin!

I have to remind myself again and again that I am not trying to lose weight: I am trying to eat in a healthy and reasonable manner. There's a risk to all this meticulous measuring and recording: the tools threaten to set the agenda. The scale and tape measure readings are so sharp-edged and unambiguous, and such universally accepted arbiters, that it would be very easy to let the numbers start to drive this process. I did use a supposed “goal weight” – loathsome concept! – to set my initial caloric intake bounds. But that was just because I needed to start somewhere, to have some landmarks. I remind myself, again: I am not “driving to 160 lbs.” I am not headed for some mystical ideal goal weight. I am just trying to eat a reasonable amount of good food, and to follow the CDC's quite sensible and up-to-date minimum exercise recommendations: half an hour's exercise per day, two resistance-training sessions per week.

I am already at my eating and exercising goal. I'm not going anywhere. This is it: I'm succeeding. I can feel good about myself. I have developed considerable intellectual curiosity about what will happen to my body, and I have some hypotheses I'm testing, but that's not the real point. The real point is to eat well, to move around a lot, and to feel like I and my body are on the same side. The war's over. My body gets to weigh whatever it wants to.

Birthday. I'm fifty-five years old today. An improbable number, from all points of view.

I went for a walk this morning, south along 86th Avenue, and about a mile down, discovered a line of big, burly conifers, totally unknown to me. Four or five in a row, standing between the sidewalk and the street. Their needles weren't in bunches, but in clusters something like flower-umbels. Huge, dark, powerful trees, with this madcap arrangement of needles. I adored them. I wonder what they are? Walking back, I saw two more individual, younger trees of the same species. Have I been seeing them all my life, without seeing them? Probably. Whatever they are, I'm taking them as my totem.

26 comments:

rbarenblat said...

I thought today was your birthday, dear Dale! I wish you a happy day, and a sweet year to come.

And huzzah for declaring an end to the war. God knows it's not an easy thing to do, but I admire it.

Dale said...

:-) Consider yourself engulfed in a burly affectionate hug, dear Rachel!

Zhoen said...

If you can photograph, or recognize/describe the leaves, there are a number of sites to help you find a name. Gardenweb might be a good starting point.

Proust! (as Rou says.)

Dale said...

I went through a couple of decision-tree (so to speak) identification sites without ending up anywhere recognizable. I need to go back and see if I can find a cone. Its needles are very like a larch, but they're awfully thick-limbed trees: they just don't feel like larches to me.

Yakima Gardener said...
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Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, Dale. May your next year be wonderful, and may your new lifestyle fit well and without struggle.

Anonymous said...

OK, that was me, Shannon! Happy birthday, again!

Lucy said...

Oh happy birthday! No need to eat any cake if you don't want to!

Dale said...

Thank you dear! This is the year you come down to Portland and get a massage, right? :-) xo

Dale said...

:-) Lucy, I had a wonderful slice of apple pie, well within my bounds.

mm said...

Happy happy birthday, Dale.

"The real point is to eat well, to move around a lot, and to feel like I and my body are on the same side. The war's over. My body gets to weigh whatever it wants to."

Couldn't agree more.

Rouchswalwe said...

A very happy birthday to you! With a Prost and Lebe wohl!

marly youmans said...

Happy un-sugary birthday, svelte melting Dale! I shall remember it from now on because tomorrow is my mother's (84th) birthday...

Zhoen said...

Try a photo and ask on Gardenweb, then. Bark, leaves, cone all help.

am said...

Happy Birthday! You share a birthday with a favorite cousin of mine who was born in 1943. The first thing I heard this morning when I walked outside just before 7 a.m. was the song of a robin. Maybe a robin was singing on the day you were born (-:

It's always good news to hear that a war is over. Thanks for that today.

NT said...

Oh, Happy Birthday, dear Dale! Thinking of you with affection and rooting for you and your totem!

Sabine said...

Happy birthday and welcome to the club of 55ers.

Moria said...

Happy birthday, Dale.

There are so many of your posts that I have thought I should reply to - sometimes in detail - and have not - i'll never catch up at this point.

My calendar knew it was your birthday today - wondered if you would say so here, and I see you did.

just thoughts said...
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Anonymous said...

Hau`oli Lā Hānau

Tree totems are magical and full of wisdom. A good choice.

Dale said...

Thanks so much everyone! xo

Pilgrim/Heretic said...

Happy day after your birthday, dear Dale! Thanks for all the lovely and challenging images and ideas you've given us.

Phil Plasma said...

I hope this year is as interesting as you'd like it to be.

It sounds to me like you've set a perfectly reasonable goal; I think others could definitely benefit for your wisdom on this.

Nimble said...

Many happy returns. 55 is very pleasing graphically. A tree totem sounds peaceful, growing and creative.

arboretum said...

Sorry, I was away last weekend, so I missed it. I wish you a belated happy birthday, dear Dale.

Natalie said...

Very late but still warm, a very happy birthday Slim, with many more to come.