The climb was long, I don’t even know how long I walked like that, my gaze fixed on the mud, engrossed in the misery of the climb.
But at last, the ground levels a little, and my back straightens a little, and the burden on my heart eases a little. I stop. It takes a little effort, as the habit of the road means my feet walk more easily than they stand now. But at last I stumble to a halt.
And at once, my tiredness floods into the very cores of my bones. I half-sit, half-fall into the grass and close my eyes.
And the sounds return. The birds first, high and distant here. The blurring of the wind. The rustle of the grass. I can’t hear the sea, but I can smell it on the wind.