Running Pell-mell

You know when you were a kid and you used to fling yourself headlong down any hill you could, not caring that you might trip and roll to the bottom because grass was soft and you were invincible and even if you ran smack into a tree and got a knot on the head you would probably lie there grinning because it was a joy just to run?

You know when you started to grow and your limbs were too long or too uncertain for the rest of your body and you cartwheeled like a starfish, slowly and heavily, and suddenly halfway down the hill you became aware that the upper half of your body was leaning just a bit too far forward and would get to the bottom just a bit quicker than your legs could and it pulled you up short, heartbeat staccato, because suddenly you cared if you tripped because there were rocks embedded in the soil?

You know when you first stopped at the top of a hill to examine, objectively, whether or not it just might be too steep, too much like the obtuse angles in the textbook in the backpack weighing you down, and ended up edging down sideways because it was safer?

You know when a hill started sounding more like an obstacle than fun?

You know when going downhill started to have a negative connotation, because when a business or school or a relationship went downhill it was bad news?

You know when you seem to be perched at the top of an impending week, peering over the edge of Sunday night and wondering how fast you’ll end up rushing down Monday’s slope into the fray, and you can’t remember when running pell-mell down a slope went from exhilarating to overwhelming…

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