I knew it was going to happen. In the last two months of living in the village I've had several close-calls, and it was inevitable. But I have been as careful as possible, ever-aware and conscious as possible. I guess I couldn't avoid it forever. It was bound to happen, and today, during my run, it finally did.
I was out for my normal, out-to-the-bridge-and-back, 40-minute run. It was rush hour, Shamgona-style, so the road was full of animals waiting for their people to let them in their own gates. Since it rained recently, the potholes and craters in the road were full of water, making my footing even more tricky if I wanted to stay dry. I had reached the bridge and turned around to head back to the house. The sun was getting low and glaring off the wet road and puddles, making it even more difficult to see clearly what was in front of me. Dodging cows, pigs, and puddles is good for exercising responsiveness and nimble-footedness! I was in a good rhythm, focused on the road, feeling my heart beating and my lungs working, my mind wandering just ahead of my steps. I had only semi-consciously seen it two steps ahead, when a little, high-pitched voice called to me from a yard I was passing, "Hello, teacher!"
That was it. My focus went up like a poof of smoke, and as I turned to smile and wave in response...... Squish.
Thankfully, my toes had sensed the massive pile of steaming-fresh cow droppings, and seemed to recoil of their own accord when my firing synapses had been interrupted at the little greeting that couldn't be ignored. I felt my foot try to miss the pile, and I just caught the edge of it with my toes. That was enough. Squishy. Slimy. That slippery viscosity that lets one thing slide too-easily across another. Just plain gross. I headed for a clean mud puddle - it's all relative, isn't it? - a puddle that hadn't been stirred up too recently so the sediment was mostly settled. Some rocks along the edge of the puddle helped to clean off the muck as I washed the crap off my sneaker.
Well, it happened, and at least I didn't have good shoes on headed to school or somewhere important. And thank God for clean mud puddles!