Exercise is not a luxury. I wonder how the political climate in this country might change if the majority of people got out for a nice walk or bike ride every day. The feelings of frustration and irritation so common between factions might disappear almost entirely. They creep up so insidiously that a person's outlook can shift drastically toward greater darkness and anger by nearly unnoticeable steps.
For a cross-country skier that activity forms a critical part of metabolism. Because cross-country skiing is the most complete exercise you can perform on land, it activates every system of the body. You burn food more efficiently. You hydrate more thoroughly. You tone every muscle. A body accustomed to that suffers from the loss of it. A mind accustomed to it notices the difference. Everything slumps.
Snow has arrived as winter enters its final phase. The season begins as it ends. It's too late for most of us to get the confident, calm feeling that develops over many weeks of skiing. But the wretched season has crystallized the concept for me that skiing needs to happen. Everyone who works in this business needs to get out there and do it every day there's snow. It's not an indulgence any more than being properly fed is an indulgence. It makes us better at our jobs. We serve our customers better. We run the business better.
In the economy in general, a more humane attitude toward the work day would go a long way to making life much sweeter and the population healthier. How about this: everyone gets two hours in the best part of the day to take a jog, a walk, a bike ride, a ski or an indoor exercise class, and get lunch. It doesn't come out of your pay as long as you do something active. Self-propelled commuters can substitute somthing else for the exercise hour, like an art class, chess games, writing or a music lesson. You can't take a double lunch or just go smoke somewhere. You can, but you don't get paid.
We have to live by the experience, not by the numbers.