In the morning when I run, the bush smells sweet. The dog agrees. Seduced by bedded scents of nature’s nightlife, her nose sweeps the undergrowth. I push my legs. Urge my breath. Make myself keep going. When the virus comes in the morning when I run I stop dead beside a tree whose patterned trunk contains the world I think of Borges’ maps And exact science On one side the river gum is smooth the other dimpled like the cheek of a happy child I lean my back against the solid bark and feel safe. I close my eyes, slow my breath, let myself be still. The dog waits. When the virus comes again, I am prepared. In the morning when I run, I have my tree, a world imagined, senses, legs, and breath, a dog who seems to understand these things, enough to make myself keep going.
Christine Hill is a midwife, psychotherapist, and writer living in Melbourne, a city which, at the time of writing, was experiencing its fifth lockdown. Her PhD in Creative Writing from Swinburne University included a play (about the emotional world of a baby) which has been presented at La Mama in Melbourne and internationally. Her essay, ‘How could you do this to us?’, concerning her work with asylum-seeking families, was awarded the 2017 Writers Victoria Grace Marion Wilson Prize for non-fiction, and re-published in Meanjin.