I was running for my life. No one would save me but these two legs, this quickly tiring heart, these heaving lungs. There was nothing else in the entire world but RUN. No future, no past, no thought of the pleasant effort before this moment with the Spring snowfall for the first three miles, the just greening hills that were gracefully solid and abutting the canal bank where my feet were touching.
I didn’t even have room for fear. It was more like my brain was in disbelief and yet there was the bark, and there was the pain of teeth glancing across my finger. A month later, I can feel it. At that moment I turned and roared at the ferocious dog. I didn’t really see him other than to register that it wasn’t a pit bull. The sound that came out of my mouth surprised me. I sounded like that at the moment when I was about to deliver my children into the world. It is not a ladylike sound.
I made one more glowering war cry and the dog backed away and then I turned and kept on running. My friend and I were moving now to put more distance between us and the ferocious animal. Then I had to walk. The sprint had turned my legs to jelly. My mind signaled some emotion (relief?) and my milk came in but there was no baby to nurse.
We still had two miles to go before we could rest safely at the trail base.
My friend gathered some rocks and I watched her numbly. Then I gathered a few. They seemed too small in my hand though it felt good to have a weapon, something between me and future dog attacks. I am a terrible shot. Would these stones be helpful?
The canal bank where we were running was bordered on one side by small farms with protective animals watching for cougars and trespassers. The ground was dirt, some grass, occasional rock. It was beautiful.
When we heard barking again but this time from ahead, we froze and waited to see if the dog was behind fence or free to roam. I was struck hard with fear, thinking I could not run fast again, worn out. Rocks in her hand, Deb led out with a nod at the actual canal. Not yet rushing with mountain water it seemed hidden from sight of the barking dog.
We crouched low and ran, avoiding as best we could the dried leaves that lay on the cement floor, silent except for short breaths, hoping we were low enough.
I was breathing too heavy. Panic was suckering my lungs tight. Just keep running. I tightened my sweating palm around my rocks, willing the dog away. I didn’t even think to pray.
We snuck by without being chased. The dog was either fenced or didn’t care anymore when he didn’t see us near his domain. And then we ran with utmost joy the wending trail back to our cars parked at the base of the Manastash Ridge.