The two signs on the light post advertise the recently completed annual Bend Pole, Pedal, Paddle. Teams compete by age bracket in a race where members have to downhill ski on Mt Bachelor, cross country ski on a designated course, bike ride 25 miles downhill to Bend, paddle a kayak in the Deschutes River and then run to a finish line. I got tired just writing that sentence.
Bend, Oregon, is teeming with people who thrive on physical fitness. I see joggers, bicyclists and fitness centers everywhere. Let's not forget the plethora of classes on pilates, yoga and other forms of health-related consciousness expansion. All these positive vibrations are "infectious." I am now swimming a mile almost every day, lifting weights and on the treadmill. It is not amazing that I have lost 12-15 lbs in the past six months.
I know that I am trying to live longer and impress my friends with my ability to outsmart aging. Of course I feel better too. Bend, Oregon, provides such a healthy atmosphere. Yet I am often reminded that being healthy requires good genetics, a good social fabric, good drugs and good luck. I don't mind fighting the battle to increase my longevity and enjoy the ring, but am reminded of a movie I saw years ago, The Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergman. In it, a knight who returns home alive from the Crusades finds himself in a chess game with Death. The knight lives as long as he is winning, but the ending of the film, as you can guess, is a forgone conclusion.