Posted on: 30 Mar 2021
Ah, how quickly things can change.
The clocks sprang forward, the sun came out, and in the blink of an eye the world just felt instantly better.
It's been a long drag this last lockdown. We were on special measures here to begin with, then we got stuck with the rest of Wales on tier 4 lockdown on December 20th last year.
That little easing, the fact we can now move freely within the borders of our own small country, makes the world of difference to me, to us, to Molly. If we could just see our families again then better still.
Days like today are suddenly possible again. A short drive in the car to park outside a cafe that is still forced to remain closed, but at last I can breathe some proper fresh air in some lovely greening hills. Spring is coming.
The sunshine revealed it all the more. I could hear old dead stems on the upland wetland grasses cracking as the moisture soaked into them evaporated off quickly in the sun. The land preparing itself for the lushness it is just about ready to show us.
A chat with my daughter on the phone, to be able to stand in the sunshine and feel it's warmth on my back a liberation in itself.
The 04:30 start (the 03:30 truth of it still very much felt) is tough, but the reward, on summertime at least, is the freedom of a long afternoon with which we can do whatever we want.
I want to run in the hills. That is who I am. It is where I like to be. It is what I like to be doing.
On the way towards the top of Moel-y-Gamelin a group of 6 young lads are squabbling, one wants to head on for the summit he can see, one wants to explore the valley to our right, the rest want to go back to the car. Mine is not to pass judgement on how many of them there are or where they're from, nor how many households they are from. Their generation has had a really bum deal. It is good to see them out and about. Good to see these young people we berate for sitting on their iPads actually getting out to explore.
"He's right..." I say, nodding towards the one who wants to summit and he smiles "... and he's right..." I say nodding towards the one who wants to explore the valley and he smiles too "... you should go explore the lot of it" I say and all 6 of them smile.
Me, I was walking up that steep bit, but now I opened up my legs and let myself fall down the other side. I'm running. Can tell I haven't been allowed to do it for a while, my legs have pretty much forgotten what to do and my feet hit the floor with a force that would be perfect for a pasodoble.
I don't care that I'm a little ring rusty. I contour one peak on the left and the next peak on the right and enjoy a mix of different textures beneath my feet. I return to the car by the great scar that runs along this mountain and start feeling again what it's like to run on the scree from long since broken rocks.
9.5 miles passes in what feels like a blink. I am happy. I am sun drenched, I got to see my mountains in the distance and can look upon them now knowing that soon I will be able to be there.
It was a good day. A satisfying day. For the first time in probably a year, I know that I will sleep well tonight.
Perhaps that is the greatest blessing of all.
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