What happens when one ‘slows down’? Nothing bad, as far as I can see. Of course, it is entirely possible that I cannot see far enough. But what I can see, close up and near-term, is wildly beneficial. It is said that people slow down with age. What seems incontrovertible is that their physiologic aspects slow. Even without having recently tested them, my reactions have slowed. At least I assume that. But what about other stuff?

Most mornings each week I rise from my bed and hurtle toward exercise. That ‘hurtling’ is virtually built into the morning picture by the arrival of Dennis, who helps and encourages my exercise program. In other words, it is not natural for a 70-year-old guy to burst from slumber onto an exercycle at 6:45 AM. You get the picture. I am used to this picture. Or think I am.

Perhaps having been cast into a more contemplative frame of head by a week of poetry, psychology and myth in the north woods of Minnesota…I am rethinking everything. And on this particular morning, having been woken from a depth of sleep approximately equal to the Marianas Trench…I emerged into the conscious world singularly ill-equipped for aerobic activity. Vis-à-vis the rowing machine. Or the exercycle. And that attitude has persisted into the early afternoon.

As has San Francisco’s warm weather, a seasonal thing known in the rest of the world as summer…which in these parts has shifted into late September and October to make room for ocean currents. It’s a concept. I digress.

Meanwhile, somewhat unburdened by my usual physiotherapy discipline, I can report an excellent couple of chapters in Edna O’Brien’s brilliant ‘The Little Chairs’. There is no escaping history, the author observes on the front piece. And since history is having its wanton way in the U.S. these days, I was open to reading. But also, I maintain, reading was more open to me, because I had abandoned the hard-driving push to exercise. At least on this particular day. On account of slowing down. Which, despite the general PR on the topic, has definite advantages. Slow cuisine. Slow life. Of which, any sane person will concede, we all face an uncertain amount. More later. Perhaps much, much later. Because, and let me say this slowly, one never knows.

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