Just awoke on this Monday morning from a dream of running and scrambling through the fields, racing my good friend to a point we knew well. No euphemisms, nothing clever here, just a steeplechase in the old meaning of the word, where a man on horseback, out riding with his friends, would say something on the lines of “See yon steeple of St. Nyaralathotep’s? Race you!” and the game would be on.

We, of course, were dismounted, because this happens in very nearly the real, and the objective wasn’t a steeple, but a point well known to both of us, down at the bottom of the hill. He’s taller than I am, and has the advantage that way, but I knew a course through a field and sliding skittering down a hill through the backlots that gave me an edge, putting the contest at very nearly even.

One day two other professors, visitors from America, decided to join in and they were fast, so fast, so I showed my friend my shortcut. I marveled that he hadn’t discovered it before, as it was well beaten down with my footprints, and in the dream, I still wore the old “black Cadillac” combat boots, with their distinctive self-cleaning tread, and we ran, we ran down the hill, and this is when I knew it was a dream, because I was young enough that running was a joy, strong enough that jumping over obstacles was a pleasure, and supple enough that slipping sliding glissading down a hill was no cause for fear of the sprain of the ankle, the twist of the knee, the stumble and attendant impact that wreaks a life-changing crunch in the shoulder.

We didn’t win, and like most dreams, the memory of the joy of just racing is fading from my brain already.

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