I head out in my car and park at the base of the hill. I am looking for a little more challenge than the easy track I have been practising on. I look at the steep hill to my right. Hills like this one are the reason I haven't been orienteering much this year. Looking from the bottom to the top, thinking "I have to get up there" is a little daunting. But I am not orienteering, and hence there is a track to follow, which zigzags gradually up the steep slope. It is narrow and the surface is damp, but the hardpacked earth has not turned to mud. Long grasses on each side bend inwards so that the seed heads greet each other. They remind me of a guard of honour with crossed swords or rifles. They brush my trousers, making them damp, but not too wet to be bearable. The zigzags of the track are almost level in places, but at each turn of the track, I climb a little higher. Eventually I reach a spot where the track becomes indistinct as it passes over bare rock. I take what I think is the right direction to a plane table which identifies features on the horizon.
It is quiet on the track. I hear distant traffic, the thwack of my track shoes on the path, the swish of my rain jacket. Even the sheep have gone elsewhere. The tops of the hills have disappeared into the clouds. When I think I have climbed high enough, I turn and descend down the other side of the spur.
cliffs topped with pines
river runs below
I reach a gate and finish my walk along a road which leads me back to the car park.
my only companions
starlings on wet grass
[Haibun is a passage of prose which includes haiku. It is a form that has been used historically in Japan for poetic diaries. I am also currently reading a travel book which takes a similar form: "Here Comes Another Vital Moment" by New Zealand writer Diane Brown. I like the idea of using this form for a journal of a trip, and am contemplating trying it when I go to the UK next year.
Haibun is this week's topic at onedeepbreath, where you can find links to examples from other bloggers.]