The world is dark and moody this morning. The early light is working hard to break through low, threatening clouds and there’s a strong headwind that it is hard to run against. I don’t mind though, the extra effort is welcome and the Wind is pushing a fine rain that’s keeping my body cool and my mind clear.
Crossing the Pier Head I see the first ferry of the day leaving the terminal to start its triangular run across the River. I love the ferries; I always have, ever since my grandfather took me on them as a small child. Maybe that’s where the whole love affair began. A moving deck under my feet is always welcome. With the ferries though, it’s more than that. I love the way they look, squat, square and stocky, like short, muscular boxers. I love their grit and determination, the way they power head on into the tide. It takes a lot to stop the ferries. They’ve been plying their trade for many years and in that time they’ve punched their way through just about everything the elements could throw at them.
As the rain begins to fall harder and the Wind takes on an edge that starts to cut through my layers I take my inspiration from them and push on.
Leaving the Pier Head and the ferry terminal behind I continue upriver. I can see a red navigation buoy dragging in the tide. The incoming surge is trying to carry it along as it powers inland and the huge buoy is leaning upriver, but the whitecaps are blowing toward the mouth of the River and the waves are confused. Wind over tide, bad news for any sailor. It spelled doom for the Ellan Vannin out at the bar. But that is the nature of Wind, it is not a humble thing. Though it draws energy from the temperature of the water and the land it is still arrogant and capricious, always looking for a way to be free. Behind me though, I know that the boxers are fighting their way through.
The rain is driving now and I drop my head a little to shelter my eyes.
The miles pass and it is not the cold, but fatigue that dogs me, time to refuel. I run by the River for the same reason that I used to run in the park: nature gives me strength. I used to draw strength from the trees, now I draw it from the water.
The River has one of the biggest tidal ranges in the world, a mass of water that mankind could only dream of moving. To move the River it must become a living thing, it must be plugged into the beating heart of the wider Universe. It takes the moon and the sun together in all their majesty to give it life. The River is the power of worlds incarnate and it has much to spare.
When I’m not too tired my awe of the River inspires me to keep going, but if I am struggling I ask the River for strength. Unlike the Wind though, I ask humbly and only for a little, because I am only a man and a fraction is all I need. Just the merest whisper, the softest breath of the sun and moon and that will see me through.
I am tired today, so I ask and the River answers. I feel its strength fill me and my pace increases. The rain is easing too and the Wind, tired of its games, has died a little. Not far now and it will be time for me to turn inland, but not too far. I can never be far from the River.