Montana Outdoors

January 8, 2007

The exercise room

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Reflections — montucky @ 11:14 pm

Now that the holidays are past and all of the major feasting, snacking, sipping, guzzling and other over-indulging is over, it has occurred to me that getting some really good exercise should be the order of the day.

For so many folks across America, it’s the time fire up the car, drive a few blocks or so down to Curves and exercise. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for me for several very good reasons:

1. They have some kind of “gender bias” thing going on down there and won’t let me in.
2. Several of the regular patrons of our local franchise inadvertently overheard me refer to that fine establishment as “Bulges” instead of Curves. (Luckily I have the ability to run very fast and jump over things.)
3. Scientists have determined that the mere act of witnessing all the jiggling that goes on in there is by itself very bad for one’s health, although it may turn out to be an excellent appetite suppressant. Studies are still going on.
4. I don’t need to go there because I have a very fine exercise room of my own.

My exercise room differs in many ways from the exercise rooms commonly in use in all the major cities. First of all, it is in the shape of a triangle rather than the customary rectangle; an isosceles triangle to be more exact. It has a very high ceiling, and somewhat more floor space than the average exercise room; 136 square miles (or roughly twenty times that, if you include all the ups and downs). I can enter it by simply walking out through the door of my house.

Holding up the ceiling at one corner of this room is the rocky, 7464 foot peak of Mt Baldy in the Salish Mountain range. The ceiling support seventeen miles to the west of that is a huge rock slab at the top of 6922 foot Big Hole Peak in the Cabinet Mountains, and the third corner sits right next to the lookout tower atop 6837 foot Patrick’s Knob, part of the Coeur d’Alene Mountains.

The ceiling, rather than being painted one drab color, changes colors constantly. Sometimes it is deep blue, sometimes pure white, or gray, but most often displays a kaleidoscopic mixture of these colors, with a few swirls of reds, pinks and yellows thrown in for accents. I must caution you however: it frequently leaks drops of rain or permits snow flakes to drift down unexpectedly.

The walls have been skillfully painted with various scenes of mountainsides, peaks, valleys, grassy or snowy meadows, high ridges, rock cliffs and a huge variety of tree species. On most days quickly movable curtains of clouds frequently shift back and forth and display the scene of one wall for a time, then cover it and display one of equal beauty on another. It’s very good for the neck muscles if one attempts to take in all the changes.

The floor is not flat like the floors of most exercise rooms. There are all kinds of elevation variations in this one, most often called “hills” or “mountains”, always pleasant to climb, if for no other reason, just to look over the other side. Sometimes you can hear the soft rustle of bright green floor-grass against your boots (it‘s very relaxing to listen to the swishing of the grass while trying to avoid stepping on any of the wildflowers). During the winter you can often skate on this floor. In summer, in many places you can swim in it.

Although the price for its use is very reasonable (merely a little effort), it has always amazed me that so few people ever use it

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