A Standing Ground

Flee fro the prees, and dwelle with sothfastnesse;
Suffyce unto thy thyng, though hit be smal…

However just and anxious I have been,
I will stop and step back
from the crowd of those who may agree
with what I say, and be apart.
There is no earthly promise of life or peace
but where the roots branch and weave
their patient silent passages in the dark;
uprooted, I have been furious without an aim.
I am not bound for any public place,
but for ground of my own
where I have planted vines and orchard trees,
and in the heat of the day climbed up
into the healing shadow of the woods.
Better than any argument is to rise at dawn
and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup

— Wendell Berry

Barbell Training

“Physical strength is the most important thing in life. This is true whether we want it to be or not.”
― Mark Rippetoe, Starting Strength

Overstated? Of course. Virtue in this life and eternal life in the next are more important. (But note: “virtue” was originally just Latin for “manliness.”) Rippetoe has clearly heard this objection before:

“A weak man is not as happy as that same man would be if he were strong. This reality is offensive to some people who would like the intellectual or spiritual to take precedence. It is instructive to see what happens to these very people as their squat strength goes up.”
― Mark Rippetoe, Starting Strength

It’s working for me. As an allegedly intellectual and spiritual person, life does feel better as my squat number goes up.

Am I a great lifter? No. See this blog’s tagline. I’m happy because I passed a milestone this week, and got my squat to pass my bodyweight. Rule of thumb is that a “good” squat strength should be 1.5 times your bodyweight. As long as I can keep progressing I should get there. Eventually.