I know everyone loves the colors and the days so brilliant and crisp they seem like a fairy tale. I know the grass is still green. I know the sun, when not hidden, still filters through the leaves with golden shimmers.
I know I should love it.
But to me it feels heavy.
I realize these are the year's last nice days.
I lace up my shoes. I force myself out into the wind, under the clouds. The puddles spray leftover rain onto my calves as my feet strike the pavement and propel me forward. Sometimes I can focus on my stride. On beating my time. On pushing myself to run faster, to stretch, to feel only the air enveloping me and the rhythm and my breath.
But sometimes I don't care how fast I am.
Sometimes I get distracted by the red-tailed hawk swooping gracefully to a tree and calling for its mate. Sometimes the clouds are too ominous and the colors too striking and all I can feel is the brilliant yellow and red against angry, dark skies.
Sometimes all I can see is a final, defiant display of beauty in the face of winter's inevitability.
And when I see that, I feel both exhilarated and defeated.
The dull, gray winter will come regardless.
The gloom will settle in and all will be shades of white and shadows and endless months of chill.
The weight is almost too much.
Yet I can't deny the faint whispers of hope in the falling leaves.
This isn't final.
Spring waits in the shadows.
Nothing can stop it.
It will come.
It always does.