Sophie Sparham is a writer from Derby. She has written commissions for BBC Radio 4, The V&A and The People’s History Museum.
A few stones stand between me and the vertical drop to my left. My legs shake but do not buckle as I stare down into the fields that unroll like a patchwork quilt. A few months ago, my balance would have faltered, my nerves collapsed, as I gazed down at the flight patterns of birds.
The dragon sleeps beneath me as my poles guide me across its limestone scales; a grass wave, forever on the verge of breaking. This creature is not a thing to be conquered, but adored by small footprints.
Slowness is key, there is no shame in this. No shame in tiptoeing across skyline, balancing my way across landscape. I was not born acrobat, nor tightrope walker, nor climber. Yet here I am, forever disproving my own theories, creating new myths.
The dragon will remain in slumber long after I am gone. And there will be others, so many others that think, they too, cannot withstand the climb, and, like me, will fear to slip upon descent. They will also learn how to control their pulse, discover that they are part of the view.
“Take your time,” my friend says. So, I grasp it, hold it close to my chest, as the two of us rise and fall like a breath.
The Edge of the Dragon’s Back © Sophie Sparham 2020