It’s raining so I run, arms flapping wild, water rivering a cold claw down my neck. It’s a northern gale, so I run into the wind, pushing back, fighting the crackling roar in my ears.
I must be crazy.
So I run along the clean flat spread of beach opened by the falling tide, patterned and scattered with dots of dead jellyfish, razor fish shell shards, and racing gangs of clockwork sanderlings.
I can’t do this.
So I run over black fossil trees revealed in the sand, tall dunes on one side, the North Sea slate grey heaving on the other. Bladderwrack clings tangles to my legs and my shoes fill with sea water.
I’m too old for this.
When I run with the wind at my back, I can recall my youthful racing self, flying and floating friction free over the running track. Now, I can’t catch my breath like I used to, upwind or downwind.
I can’t do this.
I can’t run into wind driven rain, right hard into it, arguing with it, exhausted, sad, and exhilarated.
I can’t do this, I’m too old.
Instead, I must slow motion until my knees hurt and I have to stop and bend to gulp in oxygen and ozone. Then, I wander tearful over rock and sand and gaze at storm clouds piling up towers heading my way.
Now, I have to learn to swing my arms a little and walk, look and listen. That’s all. That has to be enough now.
Roger was born in London and has lived in the North East of England in the Tyne Valley for well over 40 years. He retired in 2012 from a working life in health care and environmental consultancy among various other odd occupations that demanded mainly dry as dust reports and proposals. Now, getting on a bit, he is finding deep pleasure in writing odd bits of flash fiction, short stories and the occasional poem. He’s trying to learn what words can really do, find a consistent voice. About six years ago, he acquired an allotment and passionately wishes he had done that years ago.