The body functions better outdoors and under heavy physical stress. It responds wonderfully when you make it sweat in great amounts and tax its energy stores with great efforts. The body will become covered in a veneer of salty crystals and wind-blown sand and dirt and you will have formed a fine protective layer atop the skin. There is no need to wash this layer off with bathing, as this layer performs the additional function of moisturizing and providing a natural screen against the sun.

The unwashed hair, filled with dust and bleached by the sun, will lose the oiliness it once had, and which drew to it so much dirt when you were inactive and sat much of the day and washed it frequently. The folicles themselves will feel dry and strong between your fingers and you will be reminded of the touch you had once given to the mane of a horse, or some other powerful animal that grazed freely.

Your immune system will have doubled in strength. Viruses and bacteria will find no home inside you. You will not fear the filth of other humans or even the unsanitary conditions in which they live in their cities and towns. Your body will repel that sort of filth. Even non-potable water will be without an effect upon you. You will wake with the sun and go to sleep when it sets. The dogs will follow you and look at you differently, and it will seem that they are welcoming you back as an animal that has begun again to live properly.

You will feel euphoric from the endorphins produced from your great physical efforts. All kinds of natural phenomena will begin to take on a heightened significance: the temperature, the time of day, the wind and its direction, the sun and its heat, the shape of the clouds and if they indicate a storm, the condition of the road, the habits of the other animals, the countryside and its bushes and trees and mountains, and you will always be on the lookout for secure places to pitch your tent. Your discovery of these hidden, protected places will bring you great excitement and you will eye the spot as you once eyed a beautiful woman and you will remark to yourself, even at midday when you have no intention of camping there: “My, that is a fine place to put up the tent, protected from the wind and unseen from the road. I should very much like to camp there. Another time, perhaps.”

Your sense of smell will have expanded and you will now pick up in the blowing winds the scent of animals both alive and dead, and from the intensity of the odor how long the decomposition. In the wind streams of passing trucks, mixed in with the exhaust of diesel, you will identify a man’s aftershave or the perfume of a woman, if one is traveling with him. But in the cities your recovered sense of smell will punish you. There the men and women bath frequently and perfume their bodies in excess to attract each other, and walking through the streets your olfactory sense will be assaulted.

You will let the beard grow on your face. Whereas once it felt dirty and itchy it now feels natural and protective to let the whiskers lengthen. It is another way that you have allowed your body to assume its natural state, un-manipulated, attuned to the outdoor efforts you are making daily.

Your clothes you will wash infrequently and never with soap, needing only to rinse them in water and ring them out, then letting them dry in the wind and sun on the back rack of your bicycle. And when you are not able to access water (because you do not waste the water stores you carry with you on washing clothing, or your body) you will put the dry clothes on the back rack and let the wind and sun clean them without any need for water.

Because what is dirty and unclean is what exists among men, in those places where they sit together and are inactive. The men who sit their days in cubicles in office buildings, and travel together on buses and trains to get to them--sharing the air of one another--these men become dirty and unclean. These are the men who begin to smell, who have sweat that is impure and must wash it daily from their bodies.

Some of these men may give their bodies a few hours of vigorous exercise, but it will not be enough to counteract the sitting. For their lives are dedicated to sitting and any exercise is but a brief diversion. For theirs is the life indoors, sharing space and air with other men, and it is only with much washing and soaps and perfumes that they disguise the smell of their mistake.


  1. Anonymous7.2.11

    Ha ha ha. Excellent.

    The hours of excercise at temperatures signifacantly below freezing do seem to build the immune system as well. This immune system is yet to be fully tested, but it is strong. The body is strong and perfumes and soap are of little use to me.

    Your description of smells along the roadway are excellent. To what degree I am not sure, but I have had this experience as well, as I rode my motorcycle accross Nebraska one summer day, and back another summer day. Simply being on the open road without a car and without a concern does lend to this experience. I can not claim to have experienced it to the degree you have, but it is not news to me to read it here. Reading this makes me long for the day at the end of 2012 that I give up this life and begin anew. I will have the strength to start the journey, and at that point, that is all I will need.

  2. If there is a date set and there is a plan then it is all training each day until that time. Each day an advance in preparation, an advance in strength, and a skill further developed.

  3. Anonymous17.2.11

    I felt like I might catch a cold. Then maybe an hour later that sensation was gone. I should have tried to enjoy that sensation.

  4. Anonymous20.2.11

    The other and smell. How one's smell is only relative to one's perception of another's reaction to the smell. What you have uncovered is striking--not for your description of the return to one's primordial or hunter-gatherer past (and this alone is a fine account)--but the proposition that smell simply goes away in solitude. I don't know yet how intrinsic movement or the outdoors is what this is all about. It may be about solitude, but there seems to be a connection with solitude and movement, the sort of movement and primordial roots you identify.


Copyright © Moraline Free