Monday, January 11, 2021


My new "wellness priority" is to stay hydrated.  I am told that the consequences of not making hydration a priority can lead to adverse health conditions.  Maybe even a horrible (but not presumably gurgling) death.

I read recently that I should be drinking an amount of water that is "half as many ounces as a person weighs (in pounds)."  So, for me, that comes out to about 100 ounces.  That rounds to 8.3 cans of beer.  

To help make this possible, one is encouraged to "flavor" one's water.  Such advice includes "mushroom-infused drinks," "vitamin water," and "water with added fat."  

Also, one is supposed to eat "water-rich" fruits and vegetables.  In addition, starting the day with oatmeal, skipping carbohydrates, drinking more milk, smoothies, and soup is advised.  Meat has a surprisingly high amount of water, as much as 60%.  

Importantly, I have been encouraged to "monitor the color of my urine."  

One article extolled the virtues of "Oral Hydration Solutions." This begs the question, are there Hydration Solutions that are not of the oral persuasion?  Non-oral Hydration Solutions, one guesses, might be like "Stay out of the heat," or "Wear a hat," or "Monitor your urine."  

I also spent several hours with a teacher who, via massage with tiny balls and modified pool noodles, insisted that self-massage encouraged, "hydration of the tissues."  Apparently, my feet could mummify if I don't roll them around on some pricy hacky sacks.

This reminds me of a time when I tried to form a connection with my father by asking his advice about supplemental vitamins.  His response: "Eat real food."  What a bunch of nonsense.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

That was Awful

I gave up running 31 years ago.  In 1989 I discovered the bicycle and, sufficient to say, since then bicycles and bike racing has been the focus of most of my outside time, exercise, and socializing.   

I ran in high school and in college.  I could clock sub-5 minute miles with no effort.  My resting heart rate was in the 30's.  Running a half marathon was as joyful as floating in a farm pond with my best.

Right now, though, after 31 years of sitting on a saddle I feel, as I run around my block, my running pants slowly and inexorably creep down my backside.  This is because my bottom is moving around in ways that defies known physics.  My gut is impossible to corral as well.  I knew this was going to be awkward, but words come up short.  My entire body feels like the last time I spent in a small boat on a choppy day, and the moment just before I lurched for the side only to lose control of my breakfast and the last shred of my self-esteem.

So, why am I suffering now?  Standing at a party not too long ago, after a while, and with a beer slowly warming in my hand, I realized that my back was starting to spasm, my feet were starting to throb, and my quads were quivering like I had just descended the several miles and the couple of thousand vertical feet from an all day climb in the Flatirons without a water bottle.  "I am only 62," I said to myself, "what it this going to be like when I am 72?"  "I have to do something," I said, "I am coming apart at the seams."

In what is probably one of the more impulsive moments in recent memory I decided to pull on something from the closet vaguely passing for workout clothing and went for a run.  Well, not really a run - more like a limp with a side of stagger.  "This is awful," I say.

It's dark and drizzling and near freezing so while I am avoiding puddles I am patting myself on the back for thinking this through.  I walk a block.  I jog a block.  This goes on for a while.  You get the idea. And then I am home.  0.75 total miles.  "That was awful," I said.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020


Hidden in Mother Nature's algorithm for creating life are the instructions for the Ephemeroptera, the Mayflies.  An ancient order of insects whose adult lives are short - fantastically short compared to the years that the nymph stage can live. In fact, the adults of some species emerge from their aquatic forms, rise from the surface of a lake or stream into the air, mate, lay their eggs, and expire in only a few minutes. Their ephemeral lives have been romanticized in literature for centuries - most often as a metaphor proving that life is short.  I learned about mayflies when I heard about their sudden hatches from clear streams in the mountains and the country north of where I grew up and  I have long admired their beauty.  

In my training as a naturalist, I came to value the mayflies for a different reason. The mayflies are considered indicator species and their absence or presence tells us something about the ecosystem in which they live.  That's because mayflies do not tolerate pollution, or low water quality, or unnatural swings in water conditions.  In addition, because the immature forms live for a long time, their disappearance may provide evidence of ecological pollution long after the event has been swept downstream.  Finally, mayflies typically form part of a diverse community of organisms in a healthy ecosystem.  That diversity can be measured and summarized as an index and the health of different aquatic ecosystems can be rated by comparing their index of heterogeneity - a task that can be performed without the necessity of being able to key organisms to species level.  It is only necessary to be able to tell different organisms apart from each other, which can be done without years of training and study.

Understanding the life cycle of the mayflies not only helps us appreciate the marvelous and fleeting beauty of our natural world, but also helps us understand our place in this world.  And because we and mayflies both depend on the health of our environment, when the existence of the mayflies are threatened we can be sure that our existence is threatened for the same reasons.

Monday, September 21, 2020

At midday the color of the sky was pure...

...and deep...

...and welcoming. 

I can't remember seeing it like this. It made me think that this is now a different world.

I felt solemn and playful at the same time. A question arose: 

...which one? 

And what makes me feel like I must choose?


In Flux


As we all struggle with the flux of today’s world and the forces that deflect us from our intended path, let’s remember how it feels, how centering it is, to take care of another person, and take care of ourselves, and thus return to our own true nature.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Heat Sink Philosophy

A favorite roommate in college, Ron, once said while in the throes of some kind of thermodynamics problem, "the best heat sink is no heat sink."  Think about it.

I still feel so close to getting this.  It's deep man.  And in my never-ending quest to apply everything that I learn to everything that I think I understand, here is my bicycling corollary:  We ride bikes so as to not ride bikes.  Think about that.  Not too long.  It doesn't really make sense. 

What I mean is, yes we ride bikes because we enjoy riding bikes, but we really ride bikes so that...well, something else entirely.

Maybe it's to clear our mind, maybe it's to live longer, maybe it's to do more non-riding physical activity, maybe it's about competition or endorphins, or the confidence we get from feeling strong.  Maybe, because when we get good at it, we get a sense of mastery and competence.  Personally, I get all of that, and I get a lot of social interaction, which can either feed my sense of connection or make me feel surly.  All of which, depending on my mood, I seem to need.

If one could have everything we get from riding bikes without riding bikes, we might not ride bikes at all.  Nah.  Forget I even started this little talk.  Clearly, I am not making sense.

Friday, July 10, 2020

A Life of Crime

My first memory was of setting out on an adventure on my tricycle (it was red). Mom said fine if I stayed on the sidewalk in front of the house. Naturally, I went further - all the way around the block. By the time Mom caught up to me, I was already home and sitting on the porch in front of the house grinning. Because I didn't get caught, Mom couldn't punish me. Which led to a life of crime. I blame Mom.