Crisp morning air snaps at my exposed legs, gravel scrunches under my feet. I start the timer and head off, full of purpose on this bright Sunday morning.
It’s cold in the shade of the trees but I know I will warm soon enough as the dappled light throws long shadows across the pathway. I follow the well trodden route down to the water, following the laughter of squabbling ducks which dash from shore to sanctuary as I pass.
Further along the loch opens up before me and adds a further chill to the passing breeze. In the distance a boat bounces on wave tops as it speeds north. I maintain a more sedate pace. Two legs on land.
A dog appears at a trot ahead of me, approaches, slows, and investigates me briefly from afar, before turning and leading the way forward. It’s a small wiry breed, tiny frantic legs pumping as it heads back from where it came, taking me to the jetty where it stops by its owner. I smile as I pass and continue on as the path starts to rise.
Soon I am climbing the hill, onwards onwards, one foot at a time, breath quickening, stride shortening, sweat forming. Pump those arms, focus a few feet ahead, smile at passerby as your legs ignite, calf muscles spasm, thigh muscles scream.
On it rises, steeper now, but I will not stop. It will not defeat me. I glance up ahead, not long now, I can do this. I am doing this.
And then the slope eases and flattens and I lift my head and look out across a grass covered hill, through spring buds on branches, to the mighty Loch below. The sun dashes through gaps in the clouds, splashes of astonishing colour sway in the breeze. I slowly fill my lungs and my pulse slows from a raging torrent to a syncopated melody.
I wander on, head high, lush green and dazzling blue fill my view.
I find my way to a park bench.
I am here.
I am now.
I close my eyes and stay a while.