penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

Country roads

with 2 comments

When I was a child, strength and stamina was measured by a country mile.

My cousins and I, we would challenge each other.  It started out small.  Who could run to the “Big Hill” and back?  Who could run to James Lake and back?  Who could run to the flat rock and back?  Each new horizon was exponentially bigger until – who could run to the end of the cottage road — and back?

We had hit the end of the known world for a 10 year old.  At least the known cottage world.

The distance – which  at the time was perceived by my young eyes as infinite – was probably two kilometres, maybe three at the most.  The most challenging part – beyond the black flies and the horse flies, as well as the relentless July heat, – were the hills.  Were there ever hills such as these? They seemed to go straight up, but often had a hidden dip or a longer incline, that masked their true height.  They seemed to go on and on – forever and ever.   They would break your heart and then break you down until there wasn’t anything left of little legs.

As an adult, I have run off and on.   Part of me enjoys it and part of me hates ever single ‘effen minute – especially the part that feels forty-two and would rather put my feet up and read a book.  Especially when my knees start screaming…

But what is hard to resist is that country road.

The cottage that we go to now is towards the bottom of a valley.  This means that no matter which ever direction you run in, within a couple hundred of metres you meet “The Hill.’”  You have a choice.  You can drive to the nearest highway so you can avoid it altogether and run along boring asphalt roads that you can find in your average suburb.  Or you can accept it as the challenge that God in his infinite wisdom and humour has lain before you (You can say what you will, but I believe God has an immense sense of humour that often shows it in ways that are beyond our understanding or comprehension.  More on this another time.)   And you can run up The Hill.

That 300 metre hill straight up into the infinite will test your will to just keep going – all the way up to the top.

But you can’t beat that feeling of reaching the edge of the incline and knowing you’ve passed a test of strength and spirit. You also know that at some point you will get to sprint down it as well – which feels pretty darn good.

Until, of course, you meet the next hill.



Written by pennyinacastle

September 17, 2013 at 11:33 am

Posted in Random thoughts

Tagged with ,

2 Responses

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  1. I know exactly the feeling you are describing when you crest a hill – it’s awesome!


    September 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    • Thanks for commenting! Yes, it really is an awesome feeling – that feeling of weak legged exhaustion combined with the exhilaration of knowing you made it to the “top of the world.” I have to admit, it usually it makes me grin as I run back down the other side. There’s nothing quite like it!


      September 17, 2013 at 2:38 pm

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