Movement & Confinement

I can ignore the act of running for only so long. Some mornings the dark and the cold are too much to get me out the door. Sometimes I just don’t feel like expending the energy to factor the appropriate amount of clothing to deal with the changing weather. Sometimes I’m just too damn busy to run. Deep down, however, there is a pressure cooker building steam and after a few days I just can’t take it. I Have. To. Run. It might be catching a glimpse of trail winding into the woods. It might be watching someone else trot down the street. Whatever it is, that urge to get out and run, to move, to feel that sense of velocity and (dare I romanticize it) “freedom” takes over me. It’s a compelling force that seems almost external it’s so strong. So I throw on my shoes, nearly bolt out the door and take off down  the street to see what happens.

I do this, this act of running, for many reasons I’ve drawn out on this blog previously and I’ll spare you the rehashing. What I don’t want to neglect though is the appreciation I have for my ability to run, not running “well”, but just running, the ability to move relatively freely. I never take for granted the freedom I have to run the streets, down the trails, into the city, back home. When training for my attempt at the Marathon Trials I constantly feared injury or mishap that would render me unable to move, unable to train. It was excessive worrying, but the thought of a broken leg, severely twisted ankle, etc. was cringe-inducing, and although the stakes aren’t as high now, I don’t like to imagine any scenario where my body is effectively useless.

I think of my sister who was taken by cancer, once a runner, but ultimately eaten from the inside to the point that moving off the couch was impossible. To have the awareness of running ability reduced to immobility must have been mentally torturous. I don’t know how I would cope to be honest. So yeah, I sound rather bleak here, but this serves to highlight the appreciation I have for being an able-bodied, active individual. And to think, my sister was rendered immobile by a disease, while others are due to self-neglect. My sympathy has its limits.

Then there are the other victims of immobility, the animals we have stolen into domestication and objectify as food products. Their immobility haunts me. Have you ever considered the toll immobility must take on these sentient creatures? Here is the thing…you can’t. Yes, you can imagine how YOU would feel confined in a 3 foot by 5 foot space (which might be generous), but can you REALLY empathize with how that must feel to others? I can’t. My mind instinctually diverts itself when I try to imagine the anguish of being unable to move, unable to escape. I’ve seen the toll this sort of immobility takes. I’ve seen the dead chickens lying on the floors of factory farms, their bodies grotesquely swollen till immobility and death sets in. I’ve seen the mink who are so racked with immobility that they swing their heads back and forth, bite at the wires that cage them to alleviate boredom, pace madly to fend off the effects of confinement. I’m proud to say I also gave thousands of them respite from their mental anguish and watched them sprint towards freedom. This is, however, a cyclical system of immobility and hundreds of thousands more are born and bred into this confinement, living out their lives in mental and physical anguish, never knowing what it is to run, jump, relate, swim, fly….move. Not only confined, but not understanding why. Only wanting to NOT be confined. “Torture” doesn’t adequately do it justice.

And we complain about being stuck in traffic.

I am appreciative of my ability to run, to be mobile. I don’t take it for granted and  seize every opportunity available to get out there when the motivation is strong, because if someday I do end up immobile (chance forbid) I want to know that I never wasted the ability, never gave in to passivity, took hold of momentum always. It is cliche, but I run because I can.

And for those that can’t run, that are confined by our stupid, unthinking routines, that have been rendered immobile by the unempathetic dictates of supply and demand, what will you do for them? Can you extend the appreciation and understanding you have for your own mobility to their circumstance? Can you see it through to make a simple dietary change that removes you from the processes that create their confinement?

Consider the physical and mental value of your mobility. Then consider how to grant the same to the non-human animals confined by our systems. Go vegan.

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2 responses to “Movement & Confinement

  1. Great stuff, Scott. I really admire your dedication to the cause of veganism and animal liberation while simultaneously pushing yourself through various boundaries. Your ability to keep running and creating despite the shit-pot state of the world is really invigorating. I often feel guilty about obsessing over my daily run when so many people and animals are suffering, but that doesn’t mean I should tear myself down too. We should exploit the freedom and health we’re granted, squeezing the life out of our hearts right up to the last bloody drip. Last night I was finishing up a run and I saw an old guy so wasted he had to hold up his pants with one hand because the other fisted a huge bottle of liquor. He looked at me like I was the one who should be put in an asylum. I felt the type of pity I feel for animals in cages, and quite a bit of guilt, and then I ran harder. What choice did I have?

    I wish we knew each other in “real” life. It seems like with the running, cycling, veganism and general counterculture ethics, that we’d have a good time. In lieu of that, I’ll take the blog and such. Keep it up.

    Chris

    • Chris, thanks so much for the good words. I really appreciate it and thrive off the connections to others, even through this mediated process. I agree, the world isn’t such a rosy place for a lot of beings, but hey, if we let ourselves become consumed by the negativity then we’ve let the bastards win. Success is the best revenge, as they say. There is a healthy balance to be struck between personal reward and awareness and action regarding the suffering of others. I’ve seen so many people burn out from obsessing over others (and personal) pain because they never took care of their own situation. And I’ve also seen so many give in to the siren call of the path most traveled, where they willing ignore the suffering taking place all around them, just to preserve their own sense of comfort. Both ways of living are bullshit if you ask me, which is simply to say that we can appreciate and enjoy our lives while at the same time working to give others the privileges and quality of life we all seek to achieve. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. This, you seem to understand, however.

      And yes, who knows, maybe (hopefully) our paths will cross someday. Until then, we travel the internet highway together! 😉

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