W is for Walking

I listen as I pound. To podcasts.  The only time I suspend the chat is when I need to talk to myself: my phone is crowded with voice notes. Aide-mémoires. Ideas. I’ll transcribe them as soon as I get home. If I don’t, they lose context and are gone. Like the ideas you wake to at 2am and know they’re so good you can’t possibly forget them by morning. But you have: they’ve been sifted out by deeper sleep. 

I walk fast so that my dictation is punctuated by silences as I catch my breath. I live high up. On the edge of a mountain. So that the earth seems to spill away from me. In the evenings I walk until the sun settles itself into the saddle of a valley strung way out west.

Sometimes I imagine I’m at the top of the world. Sometimes my walks make me feel as if I am: recently I began to walk at dawn, nudging endorphins to the fore. I don’t know if it’s that which sets my spirits soaring or the tea afterwards? 

My dog Jip accompanies me. She wakes me to walk early and in the evening gets under my feet to remind me it’s time to get out again. Pavlovian dog. There used to be two of her. It took me ages to stop whistling up both dogs: ’Come on girls, time for a walk’; ages to remember I had only one. The first time it happened, not long after Pili was poisoned (‘nothng we could do,’ said the vet sadly) I cried so hard I couldn’t see where I was going. 

And Jip kept looking behind us as if to say, ‘Aren’t we missing somebody?’

We were. We still are.

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