Caged. Animal. Snarling.
We needed the rain. I needed to go out. I find enforced and prolonged stays at home crush my natural soul. Prolonged? Two or was it three days. Pack ready. Breakfast and out.
Carefully I clamber up the first mud bank. I grip the rope. I also wonder why there is an old plastic telephone handset and cable tied alongside. Teal. What purpose does it serve this bizarre landline? Up and round to the foot of the stone steps. Across the catchwater channel some birds have been flitting about recently. Perhaps the rain has trapped some migrants.
I step across. The stone platform is large and wet leaves glisten. I test the footing gingerly. I grip. My small circuit of the fringe begins. Camera ready. I look up. Disappointment. I am almost ready to cross back to the main path. Almost at the bottom of the incline.
Why am I lying here? Where are my glasses and what is the red liquid dribbling onto my trousers. Is that my arm? Is the camera intact and working? At least there is no pain. Perhaps some wet wipes will clean me up. I see the deep grit-covered channel running down my arm. Oh yes, that is blood. I find the disinfectant wipes and start to clean the arm but the blood overwhelms them. Drenched carmine. Still no pain.
I am back across the catchwater. My glasses are fine. The morning exercise group of ladies views me with concern and I am surrounded. Tissues, wet wipes and water appear. Did I know my nose is cut open? No, no surely not. That explains the blood on my glasses. My knees are grazed but really the arm is the worst. The ladies fuss around and swamp me with kindness. Dab dab dab.
Soon I am deemed fit to stumble home. A short walk made long.
I decline the idea of a trip to A&E and after cleaning up again I simply determine to rest. Suddenly the adrenaline fades and the pain surges through my defences. It will pass and indeed my body is so exhausted I later stumble down a hole into deep sleep. By morning my arm is swollen and hot. I concede and head to the hospital. The recovery begins.
I find triumph in defeat. Nothing broken. The scans proclaimed my bones are brittle but they survived intact. Quietly my physio and personal trainer asks how often I have fallen in the last year. Badly? I ask. Just falls…. Well maybe twice badly and a few times more without visible damage. She looks disparagingly at me as if this is not good. She forgets. I am old. I have a bus pass. The hospital gave me healthcare vouchers to help me pay my bill because of course old means poor. What do you expect? I will not give up my exploits. Do not cage me. I will snarl and fight until I am free again.
Day four. The arm is healing. The pain is still there in my back and chest but I managed a walk on the flat today. I am almost ready to venture out to the trails again. Age inappropriate. The words ring in my ears. I will prove you wrong.