15 April 2011

Time to Exercise

Welcome back. I had planned to write about travel, but when I stepped out to jog this morning, I had to push my way through the local fauna. I’ll try to tie it all together: travel, health and the trials and tribulations of jogging at 0-dark-hundred.

Maybe I Won’t Live Forever

During the same UN project that had me in the yurt in my first blog post, our team visited the Tien Shan Mountains of northwestern China. When I returned to Cornell, my mentor, colleague and friend, Prof. Ta Liang, who had come to the U.S. from China after World War II, advised me that, because I’d seen Heavenly Lake, I would live forever.

Warren and UN project counterparts at
Heavenly Lake, Tien Shan Mountains, China

Although I trusted Ta implicitly, as I got older, I decided that I’d better hedge my bet. I started exercising and modifying my pizza- and calzone-centric diet.

A New Life

Working, I got in the habit of exercising before the sun even thought about rising. (If you jogged the way I did, you’d do it in the dark, too.) My 30-minute routine wasn’t much, but it encompassed a little of this, a little of that and a half-mile jog (at least there’s a hill). In the evening, I might take a walk over the same half-mile.

Then I had back surgery. Instead of doing a little of this, a little of that, I had to stretch and strengthen every morning as instructed diligently by the physical therapist. (She laughed uncontrollably when I described my little of this, little of that routine.) I stopped jogging until the surgeon told me that I was in terrible shape and should be jogging. Who knew?

In my present retired state, I’m still an early to bed, early to rise kind of guy, but I’ve doubled the time and distance. And my sometimes, evening constitutional is now a daily one-mile walk, executed in the afternoon at a respectably brisk pace.

Am I going to push those personal bests? Maybe, but let’s not get carried away. I never said I liked exercising.

Back to the Local Fauna

I jog on our street in the suburbs. There are streetlights at cross streets, and maybe half of the homeowners keep an outside light on all night. (A few house lights have motion detectors, making me feel special as I pass by.)

Even with a full moon, it’s usually dark enough or I’m careful enough that I focus on the pavement. Still, I’ll occasionally spy a deer or fox racing across the street or a deer motionless on someone’s lawn. (Rabbits run rampant day and night.)

This morning, easily a half dozen deer were attending a meeting in front of our house.  They adjourned with a simple motion from me.

Encountering deer so close to our front door, I was reminded of the morning I interrupted two fox (four legged) on our front lawn, one sitting, the other stretched out comfortably. They were gazing at the street, discussing the weather or having a cigarette. Executing a proverbial double take when they heard me, they ended their conversation, extinguished their cigarettes and abruptly departed.

I didn’t photograph the deer and fox in the dark,
but here are Philippine carabaos in the light.
One More Sighting

Jogging on a breezy morning, I noticed a white plastic bag tumbling across the street. As I got closer, the breeze didn’t stop, but the bag did. I slowed for a better look until I realized the bag was a skunk, not a bag, un-thrilled by my approach.

Was the skunk entirely white? I haven’t the foggiest. Rather than ask to examine its underside, I jogged…no, ran to the opposite side of the street to watch it waddle away. We’d lived in our home for years unaware that we had a skunk as a neighbor.

Wrap Up

See what you’re missing if you don’t exercise? I’ll keep it up as long as I can, and I hope you’ll do the same.

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll write again in about a week.


  1. Warren!!! I loved your blog. If I knew you could write this well, I would have had you write my last proposal. Miss you, Linder

  2. Hello, Warren. I'm looking forward to the next posting. I knew that you were an early bird but didn't know how clockwork-like your sleep cycle is. That's truly amazing. You appear to be as consistent with your sleep regime as you were with regard to orchestrating your former meetings with precise start and stop times. I've always thought that perhaps you might have missed your calling as a train conductor, given your penchant for punctuality ("All aboard!"). :) Hope all is well still in your early retirement days.


    Joe C.