A Landscaped Gym
A vertical path leads to the little woodland; footholds scarce. Upper body strength gets you into the little woods. Two levels of trail, in this woodland: deer and badger. To follow the deer: be nimble, leap the logs, span the hollows where the bracken lies fractured, where bramble stems are snaking. To follow the badger: squat, duck, dodge the low blackthorn. Forget everything for marvels found: how muscular that mushroom and here a tree attempting flight? Watch the wind catch the root-tangle; the whole structure tip and teeter on the bank; the almost-launch; the bounce and retract. All around are failed flights: deer bound over them and skin off the bark. Slither down the bank, muddy the stream; leave the little woodland for some plain lane legwork, splash a few puddles to vary your stride. Over the hedge, edge the mud, resist the wind, the rain that hurts, push back at the air. If the tree were here it would fly: might even land in the river, splash down like a wooden dragon… Risk a direct route through mud and drag your boots to the planks of the stile. Just a matter of persistence now: the last hill, the last grasp of sludge at your heels before a return to tarmac, an easy stride to the door.
Ease off boots, peel off the not-quite waterproofs, step damp sock prints into the warm cottage.
Catch up on gossip then: the four-slice toaster will be missed, you learn, but the two-slice version that nearly went to the recycling point, the cheap white plastic thing that was put in the pantry for no particular reason, that's reinstated. It works and takes up less space.
Recommence talk of an outdoor gym.
Poach some eggs and make toast under the grill.