Tuesday, May 28, 2013
It was going to be a run to cut the tension of the week.
We flew up and down trails, danced over the roots of trees. We veered onto an animal path. With a moon-walk gait, we soared down a wet dune and plummeted to the beach, catching the last bit of a low tide. I emptied my shoes, tightened my laces. Ms. Riley attacked a liberated float, tossed it into the waves, then ran after it as the the tide sucked it back to sea. When the float receded too far into the water, Ms. Riley took a sand bath. My pup awkwardly flung her cavernous chest skyward and aggressively shimmied like a fish out of water upside down. Sand flew everywhere.
I called to her. We swiftly moved down the beach towards the first ridge that we would need to clamber over. Ms. Riley is not nimble on wet rocks. Her legs splay every which way, and I worry about broken bones. We take the steep route and traverse animal trails up and over cliffy arms to avoid the beach rocks, then drop back down to the beach wherever possible to elude the treacherous undergrowth of the moor. It is not an easy trek.
The grass was slick from the recent rain, the trail was nothing more than hoof prints in the mud, a slight path trickling through daisies and strawberry blossoms. On the backside of the first hump, I gently slipped. My hand came down on a vertical wedge of slate. The slat ripped open a jagged slice of flesh, leaving shards of rocks embedded in the ribbons of shredded skin. Blood streamed from the gash, spilled across my jacket; it was glaringly vivid. I wrapped my wound in tissue, then my headband, and sat for a moment drinking in the landscape. A cacophony of sounds hit me: waves smashing against shore and rocks, sea lion conversation, Ms. Riley panting, wind through the grass, the beat of bird wings, my heart beat. My heart beat. I breathed out the air from the week and it disappeared into the fields behind me. My feet hit the here and now. I stood and we scrambled onto the next beach, and headed towards home.