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When I worked in Cordova, Alaska for a few weeks I was told that there was a beautiful clear lake, named Crater Lake, at the top of a small mountain. When the people of the village told me it was a difficult climb I nonetheless decided to try. The trail was, indeed, exhausting. At times I had to follow a stream, stepping on large slippery rocks; at other times the path was so narrow that I had to lean against the hill so as not to tumble off of it. But after a hike of 90 minutes I came upon a small lake cradled in the crater of the mountain. I sat for a long time, realizing that I was the only one there, while enjoying its simple beauty as I ate my lunch. Indeed, the hike was difficult, but worth it.
Living in Milwaukee as I do I know the experience of occasionally driving in heavy traffic. But when I drive to or through Chicago I feel like I’ve entered a different driving zone: more lanes of traffic, many more vehicles, and increased speed. Everything is more intense. I sit up straighter, become more alert, and wonder if I should be wearing driving gloves and a crash helmet.
Three years ago news programs were riveted on the story of 33 miners of San Jose, Chile who were trapped underground. It took the mining company 17 days after the collapse of the mine to drill a small passage one-half mile through the ground to find out that the miners were still alive. This hole also allowed the company to slip food, cameras and communication equipment down 2,050 feet as aid to the miners. It took two long months for the mining company to drill a hole large enough to possibly rescue the miners. While doing that the company had to construct a rescue capsule that was only two feet wide to fit in the hole large enough to carry the miners back to the surface.
Students of physical exercise say that an important part of exercise is to spend time stretching out one’s muscles before the exercise is begun. I tried to imitate that wisdom for a while, going through a set of 15 different exercises before my 3 mile walk. While I found that the stretching was often more difficult than the walk I nonetheless found it important to help limber up my muscles so that I could walk without strain. I wish now that I had kept up that regimen!