The cold front swept across the country over the past couple of days. We had brilliant wintry days which was freezing temperatures offset only slightly by the bright winter sun.
Today the sun has retreated behind the dark grey clouds, peeking shyly through only momentarily. With only light winds and warmer than usual breezes, it is almost a perfect day for running.
I stopped on the bridge as usual at the end of my run. I stood leaning over the rail, looking at the blurred reflection of myself on the gently flowing river. The trees around me whisper secrets I am not meant to hear. I wondered what it would be like to pitch myself over the side of the bridge. I wondered what it would feel like to have the water engulf me, like a cold wet blanket.
Every day we walk on the edge of a thin line between life and death. It is a wonder how little separates us all from death. A momentary lapse of judgement or sleepiness at the wheel of a car on the highway. A conscious act of jumping over a railing from the roof of a multi storey building. An accidental slip from pavement into the path of a truck.
Every day, I run, as if from life. As if I could ever outrun death at my heels, snapping, biting, wanting nothing more than the taste of my flesh.
And yet, some days I manage to outrun the fox. I feel strong, and my legs carry me strongly, propel me forward as if I weighed nothing more than the wind. Some days I stumble, and the black dogs draw close, close enough for me to smell the hunger in their snarls, close enough for me to see the evil in their red rimmed eyes. Close enough to realise that life is merely transient. We are here one moment, and then the next we are gone.
I run because it gives me something to do during my lunch hour. I run because it is the only time I truly feel free. I run because it is in my blood. I also run because I am afraid. I run because I can put the demons behind me and begin my journey to move away from them. Yes, they come after me nonetheless, but at the very least, if I should be devoured by them in the end, at least I can say I tried. At the very least, my epitaph could read, "Polar Bear - she fought a valiant fight, she ran a good race".