The sun is a fat slob. It's still not up. But I am. I can see the lazy bugger glowing behind the eastern ridge.
The valley, though still in shadow, is noisy with birdcall heralding the first clear sky in weeks. The road is still muddy and there's many a puddle between me and my shack under the cliffs, but the air is dry. Or at least dry-ish. Humidity must have plummeted to the mid 90s.
My Volleys are dappled with mud and there's a bristle of farmer's friends hanging off my left sock. Also hanging there is a leech. I bend down and pick it off. And then I straighten up again.
Good grief! I've just done an exercise!
Inspired, I suck in the clean air. I roll my shoulders and swing my arms as I walk. It's an exercise thing I've seen other people do. I hope it doesn't make me get huge ugly muscles like those blokes with very tight t-shirts and very neat haircuts who hang around dance clubs.
It doesn't. It makes me cough.
Yes, I've seen exercise. I've seen pretty girls with ponytails poking through the back of their baseball caps striding purposefully along in tight shorts, expensive sneakers and with little dumbbells in their hands and motivational mantras in their ears. I've seen them as I've wobbily wended my way home in the early morning light.
I've seen desperate older men in ridiculous high-cut running shorts and oversized singlets leaning forward into a sort of frozen-tendon quick shuffle with sweat matting their thick grey chest hairs. Ugh.
Well, now I'm doing exercise. Yes, me. An early morning walk.
My doctor reckons it's what I should do if I want to live. (Not 'live longer' or 'live better', just 'live'.) And I have to say, 20 metres from my shack, I feel much better. Sure, I'm exhausted (I walked that 20 pretty quickly with only one rest) and I'm petrified that a neighbour may drive by and see me in shorts, but being up at this time of day after sleeping rather than before sleeping is really quite a buzz. I'm like a nature spirit.
A family of wallabies munches grass beside the road.
"Om," I say to them. They don't bolt away. They're not scared. They recognise me as a fellow creature of the morn. We share wellbeingness. Either that or they realise I couldn't catch them even if they ambled away.
I had a health scare.
One day I woke up, tried to work out whose house I was in, thought back over the previous night and then looked back over my whole life and I knew, I just knew, there had to be damage. If my body was a temple then now it's a ruin for sure.
I thought I had emphysema because I was getting puffed just driving Morrison (my van). I needed a breather during sex (and it's not like it's a marathon or anything).
So I went to a doctor. She told me in her subtle way that I didn't have emphysema. I was puffing because I'm fat. F-A-T. I could be in a McDonald's queue. It's a wonder the Japanese aren't hunting me for research.
And she told me I drank too much. I asked her if she meant alcohol and she smiled at me and wondered why her.
So, here I am, up before the sun, feeling good after five minutes of pretty intense strolling. I try to grab one foot behind me to stretch that ham thingy. But I can't reach my foot, so I hold my other hand for a full minute, then swing my arms round and round, and head for home.
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