Friday, April 07, 2006


Saturday and Sunday mornings here at the beach are, compared to other days, marked by frenetic and blustering bursts of activity. Runners and joggers, skaters and bicycle riders, and yes, brisk walkers, come hurrying out as if, on these brief days, time is of the essence. Even with the recent cold, wet weather they are out there early--at times and under conditions which, from my protective kitchen window, I sleepily judge to be fit for neither man nor beast. They stream out from workaday confines in their “sweats” and Adidas and onto the breezy, sandy, surf-ringed pathways in order to gain or keep healthy bodies in proper shape; they have only the better part of two days in which to do it.

At these times I try to take some meager comfort in the familiar lines from Ecclesiastes 9:11,
“The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;”
The very next line is even more conclusive, “but time and chance happen to them all.” Time, in this sense, I take to mean occasions, events and unexpected happenings, including the process of aging over time—and what I don’t have a whole lot of. In spite of my indolent refusal to join in those energetic activities I still have a fragmentary hope not to let time and chance catch me napping, as it were. After retiring from gainful employment I have jealously guarded my time as my own, especially these week-end kick-back days, and strive to keep them aside, mostly for loafing, which I think I do with a fair amount of grace and panache.

On the other days, of which there are usually five, except for holidays, days with appointments, or I-don’t-feel-much-like-it days, I realize one should manage to move around quite a bit more, since the body may be falling, just a tinge, into disrepair. You might also note food, wealth and favor are not particularly reserved for the wise, brilliant or learned and hence probably not for me either. By the same token, the swift and the strong may or may not win the race or the battle, nor probably should I--all of which leads me resolve from my window-sill to maintain at least a moderate and sedate level of exercise. The fervent hope is that like Paul, my efforts will be construed as the good fight, finishing the race and keeping the faith—I also pray for a quick cure for laziness.

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