Music rivets me. Normally quite private and business-like, I cut loose when I walk on my treadmill, bumping and grinding to the music in my headset. For twenty minutes or more each day I visit Africa as I listen to the soundtrack of “The Lion King.”  I love it so much I rarely listen to another CD while I work out.

After playing it over and over each day for several years I have memorized the lyrics and sing like an American Idol contestant to an otherwise quiet room. I would never dare to sing in front of anyone — too embarrassed — although I do sing at church. In my youth my sisters convinced me I was tone deaf. But, alone in my condo on my treadmill I am a celebrity on stage.

I surprised my mother once at church. “Where is that beautiful voice coming from?” she wondered. She turned to see who was singing, stunned to find it was me. After all, I wasn’t one of her ten children who ended up musical. It surprised me, too. I preferred to be someplace else besides in the spotlight where I felt I didn’t belong. Later I remembered to sing quieter.

My music teacher at age ten, Sister Cecile Marie, called my mother to tell her I could not play piano in the recital that year because I had been sick with mononucleosis and missed too much practice. I felt I could’ve played. After all, at that age no one expects a flawless performance. Anyway, whatever she said to Mom over the phone made my mother cry. I never forgot the look and tears on her face. I quit taking piano lessons after that, so I didn’t cause Mom any more trouble.

Since I’m an expert typist now, testing recently at 100 wpm with only two errors, I may take up piano lessons again, feeling I could play almost flawlessly now with more practice.

I get a lot of practice singing songs from “The Lion King.”  No need to time my workout, I know exactly when my time is up after a certain song is played. The pulsating rhythm changes my mood and gets my blood circulating. I feel it mostly in my toes. When I step on my treadmill I feel a numbing cold in my feet but after fifteen minutes the toes feel toasty.

My volume goes up and my feet tread faster when I hear the African drums beat and the songs race through my mind. Some words are in English but I also sing the African lyrics even though I don’t know what they mean. One of my favorite songs on the CD is “Hakuna Metata” which means “no worries for the rest of your days.”  “It’s a problem-free philosophy,” as the song goes.

I feel almost giddy doing time on my treadmill.