Early this morning I ran my heaviness around four miles of East Cheshire’s faux rural landscape. At little more than a brisk walking pace, I sweated beside the River Deane, desperate breaths echoing in a cool concrete cave that runs beneath the A34 bypass. Then up the hill to cross a vast, recently ploughed field littered with ragged crows, blustering up and down like black bags in the wind. The hiss of traffic, a constant feature of our aural landscape, was absent when I crossed the bypass again, via the wide ramp steps of Tesco’s foot bridge. As I nipped between the trees that circle twin ponds, I noticed two buzzards by Total Fitness rising below a plane heading south. I took a breath by ponds thick with purple clouds where bloated natterjacks had evacuated their spawn between a discarded milk carton and a half submerged piece of carpet, left by a soulless angler.
Returning home sweat stuck the sun’s glare to my eyes and the traffic was back burdening the air ’till the birdsongs lost their tune. At home, waiting for the family to rise, I read about a young fool found bleeding in a boat parked on a suburban drive in Boston, then read a post from a friend that made me guilty about my own preconceptions.
‘It is a bitter irony that when most people had decided the ethnicity of the bombers that they turned out to be Caucasian in both senses of the word. ‘