Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Word-a-day Writing Challenge

Day Twenty-Two: Momentum


This is what she tells herself—uphill, downhill, on the homestretch, in the snow, in the rain, in the too hot sun:

You don’t have to be a runner. You just have to run.

Past sunlight dazzled and splayed out across windows. Down those long country roads in Eastern Quebec. The days of wearing two pairs of everything: long underwear, a hoody, a jacket, a hat, a scarf caked in frosted breath. All the way home, back to the farm, back to the horse. His warm breath on her cheek every morning and every night. The sweet aroma of hay and grain. His lean and mighty power, his smooth canter alongside the fence as she first set out, day after day, with the dog by her side. A good dog. He was not a runner either, but got a handle on it quickly. The necessity of pace. Momentum. Never breaking stride. No pull, no lag. Step in step.

In this way they kept each other all winter long. Her goal and his proud working body. This is my job, he’d say as mid-morning sun bled through lines of birch and maple, spilling over snow-crusted fields. His tight circles at the front door, nosing at his leash. Go, he’d say. We have work to do. Go. Ears kicking back as she met his stare. Up that first infernal hill, tearing her chest open to the urgency of raw cold. Then down. Up again. Fields unfurling like a dinner napkin. Snap of cloth, crunch of snow. Scuttle of toenails over ice. Foot fall beating out a bass line through ear buds. Every cell and every ion reaching for the unstoppable smile of that last downhill. Map of the day unfolding in her mind. Roads in every direction. Red lines, black lines. Anything is possible. Just go.

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