I knew it was heavy but everything in it was essential, I'd been
meticulous about that. But as I trudged through the late morning the weight was
becoming unbearable. It really was no good, I was going to have to take a
break. Just sit for a while, in that little copse at the top of the rise.
The day had started quite well, an early breakfast at the hotel
and then the easy walk to the base of the climb. It was only a few miles over
quite easy ground, no problem at all.
After a couple of hours I was well
into the hills, still easy going but the rucksack had begun to bother me. There
was something not right about it. The balance felt wrong and it was lumpy on my
back but I was sure it would settle down. Like wearing in a new pair of boots,
never let them win!
I had packed it last night. Everything just-so. You have to be
prepared for every eventuality in the hills, the weather could change in a few
minutes leaving you stranded and cold. I had packed this bag many times before,
it was a routine, a ritual. Like making a spell, everything just so.
bag had become a symbol of a certain kind of freedom to me, a statement of
intent that an adventure was afoot, on foot. It had to be prepared carefully
lest something should go wrong and the trip be spoiled. It had been
prepared carefully. Why was it causing me pain?
Come to think of it, many things in my life had been causing me
pain: my hopeless relationships, my lack of the satisfying career I had always
assumed that I would have, my inner bleakness. On these walks in the hills I
could rise above all this. Yes! Right above, and out into the open country
where I could see for miles, see distant places where others like me, like the
ordinary me, lived their disappointing lives. Here I was mighty. Strong
and self-reliant. All I wanted to be.
I reached the copse and swung the rucksack down by my side. What
It lay on the ground like something dropped from a height. It
should sit straight and true but what the hell, I'd sort it out in a while,
re-pack some things. Yet somehow I didn't want to interfere with it, not just
It was warm and quiet in the copse, I would lie down for a quick nap
and be on my way after a bite of lunch.
An owl hooted. Damn thing, how did it get into my bedroom? No,
not my bedroom, where am I? Shit! It's dark and I'm still out on the hills....
except I'm not.
I'm in a tent.
A very small tent.
Only just big
enough for me to sit here inside.
Almost like being in a....
Suddenly I felt myself hoisted aloft and bumped against
something. A gentle rhythmic motion started, I was being carried on someone's
back. Someone with a very long stride and a cold cold body.
I exist here now, in the hills, and occasionally, when the mist
comes down I carry one away. Just to ease his heavy load. It's a satisfying
career, keeping the hills clear, I don't like to leave the bodies lying about.
Everything just so.