I’m devoid of emotion, cold, numb, the landscape wraps around me and clouds gather on the horizon.
It is not the beautiful state of joyful nirvana that I get sometimes as I run where my mind clears to enter a state of peaceful zen, this is the darker fugue state of total detachment. 2km to the car, clouds start to gather on the horizon in the dying light of late afternoon, rain will come, but not before I’m back.
I can feel every fibre and sinew in my legs strain and tighten in protest at having to work, my lower back aches. The sun is so bright it has flattened all colour out of the moor, a harsh winter sun, the moorland channels the wind in varying degrees from gentle to irregular strong gusts, there is hardly a soul around, visibility is good and I can see maybe a handful of people within a 360 degree sweep. I have a short section of ‘baby heads’ to cross before a narrow worn path that will lead me back to the car, nothing major, no shakes. I make one error just before the path and sink up to my knee, the sudden drop jars my lower back and seems to shake my fugue state off temporarily, adrenaline I suppose, the path is gained and I start to tap a more regular tempo as the ground becomes more gravel worn.
The path sweeps right and undulates gently, gorse bushes grow either side impeding a steady rhythm, I arrive at the wall and style, turn left drop downhill, not far to go 1km or so, still cannot shake the fugue. picking my way cross another river the cold water shocks my feet and lower legs, uphill again to the last style, over and onto a wider path that comes and goes before settling to a more defined track. I still feel nothing emotionally, my legs hurt, my left knee aches but my feet are warm once again. I stop to take photos but cannot see anything, too bright still, I press on listening to skylarks alarm calls that shatter the silence as I burst past there little territories.
The final leg, dropping down to the edge of the moor, past Roundy Park, one of many early settlements on the moor, and finally out into modern field systems that border the road. The track now becomes really broken up, crushed and mashed under so many feet that only go so far before turning around, I’m under half a kilometer from the car. At the last stream I pause and wash my muddy shoes off, the cold water shocks my feet agin, but I stay and sit on the small clapper bridge, feet dangling in the peaty water and watch the swirls and eddys my feet make as the stream washes over the top of them.
The granite has been soaking up the sun’s energy all day and is warm to the touch, high gorse bushes still the wind and I enjoy the last of the afternoons rays for a while. A smile, peace and a calmness envelop me. Re-connect. This little stream so close to the safety of the car refills my senses that had been bleached by the brutal light higher up on the moor, I smell the warm granite that I sit on and see strong earthy colours flowing in the stream and happily catch the pine scent of the nearby forest as I stand and walk lazily toward the car. Happy now, whatever had gone on up on the moor was over, I ring home and let them know I’m off the moor safe. Homeward bound.
‘In the clearing stands a boxer,
And a fighter by his trade’