autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.

Ten miles from the canyon

She didn’t remember falling, nor hitting the ground. All she knew was that she was sore; sore in the way you get when you think there’s nothing left that can possibly feel something new and then, you find out you’re wrong. She managed a dry laugh as she gingerly popped bones back into sockets and slowly pulled herself upright. It wasn’t like she and the ground were other than intimately familiar. It was kind of an agreement they had, created over time; comfortable in that way that no longer requires words; “I am the ground,” the ground would once say, “I am the same to everyone, everything. I do not comfort or cushion; that’s not my job. I accept. It’s what the ground does.”

She nodded at the memory and patted it lightly, “I am…” She stopped a moment, looking at the latest wet trail that was already being slowly absorbed. She glanced up at the precipice and the gnarled length of the root that waved somewhat sardonically in the breeze, “It doesn’t matter what I am.” She shrugged lightly, setting the last vertebrae back in place before gathering herself and walking slowly to the foot of the cliff. She stood and calculated it once more; noting the width and height, mentally finding the markers as her eye climbed its craggy surface; the indentations and roots formed a complex pattern that ended at the lone, laughing root, waving at her from overhead.

The sense of time was distorted. It might have been minutes, it might have been lifetimes. She couldn’t really tell and it didn’t really matter, she was already some miles along the riverbed. She walked slowly and did not commit the map to memory; no need to remember which rocks were where or how the bend indicated proximity to the base. You only need directions when you need to find your way home.