Even small rocks cast long shadows when the sun dips under the hill. I ran until my lungs burst-- until my heart burst. Of course it didn't, but that's what I said. If the truth be told, I was just winded-- It's been a while since I ran like this. This sun and its heat, it must be the hottest day yet. I'm running sideways looking for a bend in the trail. My spit is slow and hot like syrup. It clings to my parched lips, and rolls in the grey dust of the great blue limestone. It looks like any other pebble now. "Where does this trail go?" I wonder. No-- no more wonder. I have questions enough as it is, and I am weary of them all. I can hear the water below, a little stream rushing along the trail, but I can't see it, let alone reach it: too much growth between us. I rise from a spot of shade, to plod once more in the great blue limestone dust. My eyes dimming as I stand. "Maybe the stream will cross the trail." Maybe not. I go on just the same: doubting nothing, but neither believing. Maybe just hoping. The trail bends north, under the shade of the mountain. I have a flat rock to myself and I am content to wait. But the path leads on. Now it bends west again, climbing sharply and out of the shade. This is the path--what can I do? What can anyone do with a path? But look there--a break in the growth. That path is not a path at all-- I can't go that way: Who goes that way? Everyone goes west, up the hill and into the sun, compelled by the height and view. Everyone goes this way. I didn't come for the view. And that way--a secret way-- winds down along the nettles and vines, to a shady spot by the stream where I may lie awhile, empty and alone.
© 2008 Scott Wiersdorf