William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Movement and Grace

Even an old elephant, as big and heavy as it is, shows grace in its movement and step. Squirrels, tigers, bears — all touch the earth with the minimum force necessary, whether engaged in foraging, hunting, teaching, or play. And the wild creatures that live alongside us in cities and towns are unfazed by our sidewalks, parking lots, and streets. Unshod and unclothed, they’re like animated springs. The idea that the average human adult is incapable of living this way, that physical grace is the sole province of dancers, gymnasts, and children, is contradicted by nature at every turn. We become stiff and are prone to injury because we’re glued to chairs and addicted to comfort and convenience. And that we choose this sort of existence shows that what happens to our bodies, happens to our minds. We view nature as a thing apart, as something we’re meant to use and control. But we are nature, and it is we who fall out of tune. This influences our outlook, our decisions, and views. Look again at the news: we literally kill for comfort, even as comfort kills.


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Categories: Sweet Sleep and Bare Feet

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4 replies

  1. Yep, pretty much sums it up. Very sad and totally unnecessary. I’m 75, i just came back from a 10k/6.2mile run. Plenty of others my age could have stayed this active, but have chosen over-eating and inertia instead. Tragic

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    • It is — and I don’t mean to imply that I’m somehow apart and above it all. In my life I’ve done more than my share of sitting — else how could I have read all of Dickens and countless others? It’s been a gradual process — an awakening, as it were. And I give thanks every day that I realized it in time. I hold it against no one who has fallen into the trap. The pressure of society can be a powerful, blinding force. Inertia creeps into one’s bones. Yet, who knows? Maybe our speaking of it here might be the reminder and gentle nudge someone needs.


      • Absolutely. Mind you, I’m the biggest couch potato on the planet, I spend a lot of time reading too. But I find it hard when people who clearly need to move actually defend their inertia, and try to dissuade others from being active. Like any addiction, it wants to defend itself. And I certainly don’t feel smug for running and the other stuff I do; I know too well the siren song of the couch and the fridge. But I feel so frustrated and sad when people stubbornly and gradually undermine their own health and lifespan. It’s like the people on the mothership in WALL-E

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