Step 21: Be Abstract

How To Enjoy A 50K—Step 21: Be Abstract

She wants to run up that hill, jog it, sprint it, leap it.

It’s so much bigger than a regular hill though.

It’s the painful mistakes and the wrong turns, every time she swung and missed, heaped onto a pile, higher now than the Alps of the Tour de France. The hill is as steep as the difference between starting with nothing and dying successful, counting cash and accolades until the very last minute.

The world makes the hill even steeper than that.

The world moves the hill farther and farther away in time and space.

She wants to swim in the wild water, in the pools of babbling brooks and the lakes that puddle the valleys. She’s been told there are life-threatening bacteria in there, bugs that will eat you alive.

Snakes and poisonous toads.

When she was small, she was curious but now she is big. Now she worries herself sick, actually sick. Her skin reddens, her body crumbles and greys. Her legs won’t run her there, to the top; nor will they swim her to the opposite shore. She sees nothing where she is. Not a panorama, not a view. Leaves scratch at the loosening skin along her jawline, her neck, the first place she noticed the onslaught of age.

She wants to walk across the land, all of the land. Quietly, with intention, greeting horses, meeting strangers, running the tips of her fingers through the beards of wheat as she goes. She wants to know what’s next; spot it on a map and walk there.

It can’t be impossible, even though it feels like it is.

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