Stream of senses
My feet burn. My legs ache. My knee bleeds. My spirits are in squalor.
After a long, fruitless and painful detour, I am finally back on the path to my destination for the night.
I pause as I suddenly hear the sweet sound of a stream to my left, on the other side of a crumbling and moss-covered stone wall. This could be the resting place I hadn't realised I was hoping for.
And it is. I walk excitedly through the gap in the wall, drop my pack under a tree and step straight across to the slow-flowing water. There isn't much, but just enough.
I relish the refreshment.
I feel the cool, smooth water on my face.
I feel a few drips happily escape and run down my neck and back.
I feel my breath deepen and slow.
I feel the cool, damp ground under my knees.
I feel the sting as I wash my bleeding cuts.
I feel the healing stretch in my feet as I sit up on my heels to explore with my eyes.
I see the lush green of the opposite bank.
I see the chaos of the rocks and desert-dry branches scattered across the banks further down.
I see the uncountable different mosses and grasses that have made this their oasis.
I see the rough, crooked, old tree emerging from rock and soil on the higher bank behind me.
I see its blanket of moss.
I see the waxy green leaves on the branch reaching towards me from across the water.
I see its aged and exposed roots, abandoned by the soil when this small stream was bigger.
I see the fur on the brown mushrooms in a cluster, sheltered by a nano-cliff.
I smell the resin-fresh air flowing among these trees as they bake in the hot sun.
I smell the metallic water still dripping from my nose.
I smell myself, my blood and the signs of my exertion.
I hear the gentle yet unstoppable flow of the water as it rides the backs of stones and runs through the outsretched blades of grass.
I hear the call of birds I cannot name.
I hear my heart beat and my lungs expand.
I taste the indescribable and incomparable coolness of water.
I taste satisfaction.
I lie back and soak it all in, until the signs of a setting sun send me onwards.