Friday, 17 January 2014

Walking like Virginia Woolf

I took it step by step. One after the other, one after the other, in rythm to the music in my head. I knew nothing, thought nothing, felt nothing, except the urge to keep moving, keep walking, keep passing by as quickly as I could as though perhaps I could walk myself into nothingness, pass out of this world completely by the mere pushing of my feet against the limits of the material world. As I pushed, my surroundings receded before me like scenery on a stage, shifting, changing, one vista giving way to another with no thought for the passing of time or the limits of physical movement in space. It was like time travel...walking so fast that maybe I could speed up time and arrive at a new place, free from the constraints of the present and pure in its unrealised state. I knew that this was impossible but still my feet propelled me forwards and my hope increased with the oxygen levels pumping through my body by my hyper-anxious heart. As concrete changed to grassy plains and rocky pathways I felt the scenery shift again, opening up a vast space in which only mist and damp and the sweet smell of soil mixed with rainwater were allowed. I ploughed in with my magic feet, this time pushing harder, wishing I could sink into that bog and embalm myself in nature's bath, like the women in Seamus Heaney's poems, rolling, ever rolling into a freezing calm that intrudes every vacuum in my body, permeating every pore and capturing this moment forever. Instead I dragged my now aching body to the highest peak of the nearest park, high above the city, nobody's home, just a forgotten plot on a topographical map of middle class meanderings. It was cold. Rain coated the side of my body facing the wind. I let my body slap down on the concrete monument marking the peak, like a slab of meat ready to be butchered. I longed for someone to tear away one soul and replace it with another, calmer, cleaner version that could find its way home and be happy. Instead I finally caught my breath and with stinging eyes blinked at my new surroundings. The scenery of my final act. It was high enough to be mistier than the street, my head just poking into raincloud, wet and windy and surrounded by empty moss green fields divided criss-cross by muddy paths, rising to another, lower, peak where I knew, rather than could see, there to be a knoll of darkest evergreens and a rocky face the other side which succeeded in fooling most walkers into a sense of being closer to the Peak District than they really were.
I breathed deep. Now what? I had already walked further than my pain stricken back had taken me for many months. The speed which had propelled me to the top had left my legs heavy and tired. I was on empty and far from help. I contemplated rolling back down the hill but even my tired limbs could not submit to such freefall. I felt the anxiousness that had cramped my entire body into a speed-walking machine melt away. I was tired. I was cold. I needed rescuing. But what from?

No comments:

Post a Comment