Winter is coming to my forest.

And with it comes a sense of wonder and mystery. Ever since I started running in these woods I’ve had the privilege of observing its seasonal changes. The speed at which things change (daily, it seems) gives my forest an enchanted feel. And now that snow and frost are starting to cover the ground, an invisible blanket of secrecy seems to hang off the trees. Though I run a familiar path, I often look around and swear that I’ve never been here before. My woods are changing.

I don’t see people. The soft patter of my footing on cold, hard ground has replaced the sound of leaves crunching under my stride. I hear nothing else. The paradox of how my feet can feel hot while running on snow and ice is another concept that eludes me. But in this place I’ve learned to ask little and move fast.

I know that this is the time of year when people start complaining about the weather. It’s just something that is expected. And I sometimes feel a little guilty about getting excited around this time of year. But if I’m honest, I know that I’d never trade a year-round hot climate for this one.

Each change of each season keeps me on track. Like a new year every three months, it refocuses my goals and redirects my ambitions. It forces me to plan ahead and anticipate new, exciting experiences. It provides a time for everything.

Plus it makes me feel tough. As if I’m in another league of running. That I’m not one to abandon my path when it gets hard. I’m solid. Grounded. And unlike the weather, unchanging. I’m faithful and constant. Knowing that I can (and will) run through heat or cold. Sun or rain. Wind or snow. It simply doesn’t matter.

I feel like Mother Nature and I have an understanding. She can do whatever the hell she wants, and I won’t complain. But I’ll do what I want, and she knows she can’t stop me. I’ll always run.

So here’s to cold nights and foggy breath. Soft snow and hard ground. And all the best things this season has to offer before wrapping up another year and starting it all over again – only this time a little better.

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