Monday, March 31, 2008
Running and my body
When I run in the wood behind my house, I can think about many things. Usually it is so that during the first 20 minutes or so I am thinking about what I have done just before I left my house, if it required much concentration, or about other things that occupy me. But gradually these thoughts fade away and my thoughts are about nothing. Or rather that is not true. My thoughts are about my running. About the feelings in my body. And shall I take this path or that? Listen, a raven, it’s new in this wood. Or, in late winter and spring: this bird has come back, that bird has come back. Take care, a hole, don’t fall. A branch on the soil. Let me go faster, let me go slower. Let me make a sprint, let me walk a little bit, and so on. But there is one thing I cannot think about: my running itself, I mean the movements of my legs and feet and of the whole body that supports them. How must I move my left feet when I move my right feet forward? How must I move in order to avoid a sprained ankle, when I step suddenly in a hole that I hadn’t seen? What to do when I slip away? And so on, and so on. I am running and my body is moving. I meet many obstacles, and I avoid them. But I never think about what to do in detail. I simply do, and I never fall. And even more, should I really try to think about what I have to do with my left leg, with my right leg, with my body, I am sure that I would do it in the wrong way and that I would fall. No, it is better not to think about it. Or rather, that’s no correct. My brain must not think about it. Let my body do it, my experienced mover. If I would think about my running, I could not run, but my body, my legs and feet know everything about my running and they think for me by way of speaking. Just as Merleau-Ponty described it.