Branch

In my early thirties I used to hop out of bed early and pound the streets.

That is to say, I would go for a run in the city where I lived (not actually pound the streets).

Being a contact lens wearer, for my early start I had a choice to make. Crow-bar my contact lenses into dry and sleepy eyes, wear glasses, or run (semi) blind.

I would often choose blindness.

There was something liberating about running through street that were so familiar yet reduced to a blur. It took the edge off the world. I could see enough to know where I was, and at that time in the morning near-blind interactions with other people were unlikely.

On one occasion, however, it went wrong.

I rounded a familiar corner on a familiar street, unaware that an unfamiliar branch of an unknown tree blocked my path. I don’t know where it had come from. I don’t know who put it there. I do know that I had no chance of spotting it and tripped headlong on to the asphalt.

It was a cold day.

I don’t know if you’ve ever scraped your bare and frozen skin against asphalt at high speed and under the weight of a falling man?

If you have, you’ll know pain.

Tears welled up. I gasped for breath – when your hands are cold, it REALLY does hurt! I sat there, my knees curled beneath my body, and pounded that asphalt in exasperation.

I literally pounded the streets.

I can’t say it helped much.

 

Branch

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