Tuesday, May 1, 2012
These are our calf muscles.
If we were to be caught in a small scale industrial explosion or bombarded by military ordinance, and to have some small piece of foreign matter, like a three inch piece of metal fiber, embed itself in this part of our body, it would have quite a journey. First it would pass through our gastrocnemius, and maybe with enough force it would continue onward into the soleus. Past this, our calves turn into a pastoral farm land of rolling hills of slow twitch muscle fiber. If that piece of intrusive metal aimed its way south, it would head in through the joining place of the two muscles, through the calcaneal tendon. This is often called the Achilles Tendon, named after that nigh invulnerable Homeric superhero known for the one body part not immersed by his mother in invulnerability granting waters. Though one wonders why more blame is not placed on the mother, who could have saved her son so much trouble simply by dipping him in for a second round.
Perhaps deserving of more notoriety is the soleus. So much of our lives is spent standing up. We are blissfully unaware journey we are asking our blood to take from foot pad to ventrical system. And it is the soleus that, in these moments of full uprightness, begins to contract over and over, all by itself. It is pumping blood upwards from these furthest bodily regions, allowing the heart to circulate properly. For this reason, the soleus is often called the second heart.
These are our calf muscles. In a few weeks, they will begin to carry us across 1800 miles, from one of our homelands to the other. This movement too could be described as Homeric. It is untested by either of us, a stepping into smoke that would be unthinkable alone. These are moments when one requires a soleus, a second heart to keep one's life moving. Either in that ascent of blood from body floor to body roof, or across those miles impossible to consider alone.