Reading some old letters I wrote home from basic training in the US Army, I see references to marching and close order drill. Those eight weeks of training made me the most physically fit I’ve ever been in my life. A lot has changed since those days, but I still try to keep up a regular walking pace. Like Stan Grayson at Dinkel Island (Return of Bliss), I tackle a brisk two-mile walk as many mornings as possible each week. It pays off in energy, fitness and overall health.
Not long ago I wrote a free-verse poem to capture the flavor of that morning ritual. It goes like this:
Arms swinging, head erect, face forward,
skinny legs with knobby knees pacing off
a fresh day’s start.
decades old but always fresh. Count cadence,
count: one, two, three, four. Once-booted feet
now Nike clad pounding out the beat through
cul-de-sac’d streets, manicured lawns and
Images half-a-century old recall the drummer’s pacing
beat. Eyes right! Get in step! Hup, tow, three, four.
Chirping birds replace the marching bands.
The past becomes the present. Mission now:
tune the heart, tame the prostate. Cadence count!
One, tow, three, four.