WALKING ON TRAIN tracks is unnatural. The distance between the wooden sleepers is just longer than a normal footstep, so you have to look down constantly to make sure you don′t stumble. Staring along the railway line is disorienting, almost sickening. When you look up at the clouds, they seem to be moving inwards towards a fixed point on the horizon. The eye has become accustomed to the railway track, and struggles for a moment to adjust to the rest of the world.
The dog snuffled through the undergrowth, a wild look in her eye. I called her to heel but as usual she ignored me. I had let her off the leash on this section of track, as there were no sheep on the surrounding properties. She had almost been shot by a neighbour last week for spooking his lambs. If she had mauled one, I would have let him do it. I was only looking after her for friends who had gone overseas, and I hadn′t realised she was untrained. She was a stupid mutt and would strain at the leash, her tongue lolling out as she slowly strangled herself. When I let her loose she would disappear, and it irritated me to call after her all the time.
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