by Ernest Thompson Seton
A law of the Woodcrafter is "understand and respect your body--it is the temple of the spirit." Most of the joy in living comes from a healthy body, every part of which is in perfect order and running smoothly. Health means activity. Only a body which has been used and tried will radiate vitality.
There was a time when the body was spoken of as a thing to be ashamed of, as something to hinder one from achieving the worthwhile things. In those days men spoke of spiritual things and worldly things, thinking they were distinct and separate--forgetting that the things of the spirit work themselves out through the body.
The most beautiful thing in the world is the human body and the most wonderful. Cherished with this idea the muscles become beautiful and strong, the skin clean and firm. Such a body is fit to meet the struggles of life and has a reserve force to meet the call of emergency. Most of us start with a good body and it is our sacred duty to keep it so.
"Shut Your Mouth and Save Your Life" was the title of an essay by George Catlin, a famous outdoor man, who lived among the Indians, and wrote about them 1825 to '40. In this he pointed out that it is exceedingly injurious to breathe through your mouth; that, indeed, many persons injured their lungs by taking in air that was not strained and warmed first through the nose, and in many cases laid the foundation of diseases which killed them.
Don't Turn Out Your Toes Too Much
When you see a man whose toes are excessively turned out, you may know he was born and brought up on sidewalks. He is a poor walker and will not hold out on an all-day tramp.
The mountaineer and the Indian scout always keep their feet nearly straight. It is easier on the feet, it avoids corns and bunions, and it lengthens the stride; makes, in short, a better traveler. A glance at his tracks will tell you how a person walks.
The Keen Eyes of the Indian. Do You Wish to Have Them?
Near-sightedness. An eminent eye doctor, Dr. W. H. Bates of New York, has found out how you can have sight as keen and eyes as good as those of the Indians who lived out of doors. After many years' study of the subject he has established the following:
a. The defect known as near-sight or short-sight seldom exists at birth, but is acquired.
b. Besides being acquirable, it is preventable and in some cases curable.
c. It comes through continual use of the eye for near objects only, during the years of growth.
The Remedy. The remedy is, give the eye regular muscular exercise every day for far-sight by focusing it for a few minutes on distant objects. It is not enough to merely look at the far-off landscapes. The eye must be definitely focused on something, like print, before the necessary muscular adjustment is perfect and the effect obtained.
The simplest way to do this is--get an ordinary eye testing card, such as is sold for a nickel at any optician's. Hang it up as far off as possible in the schoolroom and use it each day. Train your eyes to read the smallest letters from your seat.
By such exercises during the years of growth almost all short-sight, or near-sight, and much blurred sight or astigmatism, may be permanently prevented.
An interesting proof is found by Dr. Casey Wood in the fact that while wild animals have good sight, caged animals that have-lost all opportunities for watching distant objects are generally myopic or short-sighted. In other words, nature adapts the tool to its job.
A certain minister knowing I had much platform experience said to me once: "How is it that your voice never grows husky in speaking? No matter how well I may be my voice often turns husky in the pulpit."
He was a thin, nervous man, very serious about his work and anxious to impress. I replied: "You are nervous before preaching, which makes your feet sweat. Your socks are wet when you are in the pulpit, and the sympathy between soles and voice is well known. Put on dry socks just before entering the pulpit and you need not fear any huskiness."
He looked amazed and said: "You certainly have sized me up all right. I'll try next Sunday."
I have not seen him since and don't know the result, but I know that the principle is sound-wet feet, husky throat.
The Chief had always believed himself immune from poison ivy attack, but not long ago had a grueling experience that dispelled this illusion. He had undertaken to root out a large and vigorous bed of the green terror and successfully carried out the plan. But next day, the ivy had its revenge. His hands, wrists and neck were covered with an itching, prickly, burning rash that was like a maddening combination of nettles, hair shirt, bee-stings, itch, scurvy and leprosy.
Hot water with plenty of soap was used on all the parts, then a washing of alcohol, finally a treatment of cold cream. Where the skin was broken, a painting of iodine was applied.
The first and second days and nights, the itching and burning were fearful and forbade sleep or rest. Water as hot as it could be stood provided an immediate though temporary relief. This, followed by the alcohol and cold cream treatment, gradually exorcised the demon.
In three days, the worst was over, and in a week, all traces of the attack were gone.
The Chief is wiser now.
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Last modified: August 20, 2012.