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by mattgreene


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If I had a choice, I would rather the day were brighter. Less clouds, more sun, something of a clean, crisp, spring afternoon. Instead, the sun seems to loll around the sky, unsure of its path. Not seeming to care much for what lies below, above, or beside it. The air is thick with a smell only a nearby city can produce; a seeming combination of dying dreams and exhaust that always made me think of the last day of summer vacation, for some reason.

The rock beneath the staccato of my boot heels crumbles in places, holds fast in others. It seems I cannot run fast enough to satisfy my heart. Seemingly lifetimes away, the profile of Edinburgh stretches out in the distance. Mindless to its sprawl, I am concentrating only on the next step, hoping that my feet will have the sense to catch up with where my mind wishes to plant them.

I have next to no sense of perspective of my surroundings; lost, instead in my own footfalls and the wind in my hair. The height of the cliff's edge fails to impress me until I start jumping from rock to rock. The ground here seems to almost propel me faster and further as I begin bounding up the edge, patches of dead and dying grass beneath my feet. In front of me, I see a particularly ambitious piece of rock, begging me to try for distance; to see how far I can truly jump.

As my feet leave the rock, propelled by every last bit of strength my tobacco-laden lungs can muster, I look down, delighted at the possibility of seeing the ground blur past beneath me during my brief flight. The ground I seek, however, is suddenly a great deal further below me than I was expecting. If I had time or ability to estimate through the terror that suddenly grips me, I would place my elevation somewhere over two hundred feet.

I am helpless to effect any change in trajectory or velocity. I am in flight. For a few brief (though they feel anything but) seconds, I am simply between outcroppings of rock. The moment I left the stone behind me and realized my error, all circumstances in my life were out of my control. I would either make it to the next cliff, or not. The most liberating sensation I have ever experienced was truly and completely having no idea which it was to be.