Today we walked to the top of Rivington Pike: my son, my daughter and me. It was strangely warm, overcast but muggy and the climb was hard not least because we were all tired and suffering from some sort of malaise which has made us all feel absent, like we are looking on our lives from the outside. I have never encountered a disease that makes this happen, but there must be something to it as we have all expressed the same thing independently. It is not, I think, linked to the horrors you read about in the news, the terrible things happening every day. Tomorrow I will be in London. Another place cordoned off because men’s anger is uncontainable.
Along the way we encountered a creaking tree, a greenfly which would not leave my daughter’s finger, a fat egg-sacked spider, butterflies, bees. Sheep in the distant fields. A family, each member of which appeared to have its own dog. A brief shower of rain, like pins and needles on the arm. But the heat, the heat made it all exhausting. As we climbed down through the pinetum my vision turned vivid and everything sparkled unnaturally and I knew I should go and lie down, but we continued. It is good to push the body past its limits, even if its limits are not very extensive. I pushed it not too far, just enough to make myself feel I wasn’t so old or so tired or so physically inept that I could count myself obsolete yet. Not just yet, though obsolescence, I think, is not far away.