Another stumble along the trail began to reveal the effects of long work hours. As I walked I could recognise the signs of fatigue creeping over me. From an occasional missed footing to the jumble of thoughts within my head turning relentlessly and refusing to stay still as I try to piece them into a coherent order.
I lifted my hand to relieve the discomfort in my shoulders, a sensation of heaviness seemed to run from my aching shoulders down though my arm like a stream and pooled in my fingertips. I allowed gravity to carry my hand back to my side and looked around. My vision seemed to be following behind the movements of my eyes and head as I glanced around the clearing leaving me checking my balance and breathing deeply to recover what oxygen I could to tired muscles.
A head of me I could see the shape of an old oak tree set a short distance from the track, its roots spread among a blanket of rough grass. I drew breath and made my way over to seek rest for a while within the trails of the roots. Easing myself down to the floor I was relieved to find the grass dry and the earth warm, I leaned back against the trunk and closed my eyes for a moment. It was as if time itself had slowed or I had gained a synthesis with the long slow years of the tree. The wind drifted by carrying the clouds across the late evening skyline and the gentle rustle of leaves ushered them away to to horizon. Each blink seemed to take an eternity until I was aware of reaching a shallow sleep and the passing of time seemed to stop for a moment.
I opened my eyes to the gentle pattering of light rain on the oak leaves. I did not care to try and guess if my sleep had been moments, minutes or longer, but I remained warm and comfortable on the lea side of the trunk to the passing breeze. My dogs had stayed as sentinels by my side during my rest but their eager eyes displayed their desire to continue. Feeling my burden lifted by my rest I climbed back to my feet and stretched. Our journey would carry us a few more miles yet, but to enjoy such a rest by a fine oak would make my steps lighter and my mind sharper to enjoy the pathways to come.