Rest Stops

Composed of muscle, tendon, and bone, human bodies are made for movement. We aim to jump higher, fly further, run faster, and create new goals and dreams. However, human bodies also require time to rest, restore, and relax.

A person climbing out of bed

Human bodies are objects constantly in motion. Legs swing from hips, muscles tensing and relaxing like springs underneath skin, one long stride at a time. Feet fall on pavement, then roll from heel to toe in preparation for the next step. Stride past a source of light, and even your surroundings are pulled by the force of your movements: the body’s shadow flashes across the ground, contracting and lengthening across the floors and walls before fading.

Even a body consciously kept still is dynamic. Inhale, exhale, and the air is sucked into your mouth, swirling in your lungs before being released. Your heart pumps, rhythmically sending pulses of vital blood to your throbbing fingers and toes. Stare straight ahead, unmoving as a statue, but your eyelids will betray you, fluttering rapidly in minuscule motions. It takes a powerful force to remove the life from a body.

Aside from the physical, kinetic forces of gravity and friction that counter and balance the movement of our limbs, motion also arises from the ebb and flow of time. A human body always moves forward in time, never backwards (although the mind occasionally succeeds in navigating through time in reverse). Perhaps because we cannot predict the future, we spend a considerable amount of time devoted to fretting anxiously about what lies ahead in the future. In order to surmount the obstacles we know we will encounter tomorrow—or a week from now, or a decade from now—we analyze and strategize and come up with a list of “what ifs.” We reach into the future, rearranging ourselves and those around us in a never ceasing choreography of movements to create a path most suitable to our desires. Time streams forward, and we race ahead, seeking that next opportunity or new experience.

No engine can move endlessly without fuel, rest, and a tune-up—human bodies not excluded. At the end of a frantic week and before the beginning of another one, we seek solace in the company of a close friend and energy in an array of coffee cups and sugar-dusted pastries. In the midst of a flurry of errands, we savor the refreshing delight of a gulp of fresh water. After one of those days when we feel like we’ve been running around trying to satisfy the commands and whims of everyone else, we give in to the comfort of holding a loved one’s hand.

A hand reaching for keys
Dropping hair ties
A water glass being emptied
Flipping through a book
Minutes passing on an alarm clock

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