There is a tree in the back yard that I tell the kids is the Halloween Tree. It's a twisted, lanky, gnarled mess; the branches hang like long fingertips scratching at the air. Along its trunk, near the roots, bulbous growths dot the contours, bringing a certain curious emphasis to where it meets the earth. "I wonder..." I tell the little ones, "just what do you think is under that Halloween Tree?"
Here we are at the end of the season. The marathon has been run and the days have shortened to the point where it's pitch dark on the way into work and only marginally brighter on the way home afterwards. A birthday came and went; the air has gotten colder; and the birds have started to head south for the winter.
Exactly one year ago I packed the last of the bags and locked the front door on my way out from a life of uncertainty and loss. It was my birthday, as it is today, and I cared not if I was making the right move, but only that I was making a move at all. As the car swayed along the bumpy road out of town, I felt an electric pang of courage and confidence anew. I wondered, eagerly, what lay ahead in the year to come?Read More
Darkness poured into the room and a chill passed through me as I extricated myself from the heavy sheets. Outside, the wind blew against the cedar planks of my childhood home and the rain tapped against the skylight like a set of frozen fingertips to the glass. It was 5:30am and I had planned the morning perfectly to the tune of the same routine I had repeated so many times before. I'd start with some gentle stretching and then make my way downstairs to enjoy a cup of hot coffee with a bagel. After the bagel, I'd change into my race kit and my pre-race warm-up clothes before having a couple of sugary breakfast cookies. By 6:15, I'd be out the door and headed to the race, buzzing with anticipation and the kind of pre-race energy that fills you with the fight and the fortitude needed for the marathon. The only problem, on this particular day of the 2014 Empire State Marathon, was that I had never before awoken with a lesser desire to race.Read More
I noticed the first ones started showing up in late-September. I was running home along Riverview - the water to my right and the farm to my left - and three sat atop the fence that lined the way. Weeks later, a patch of them blossomed up on Van Vranken. Now, partway through October, they're everywhere. My favorite time of year, captured perfectly in one bright orange symbol.
It's like summer grinds to a halt just as the leaves begin to let go of their branches. One day, it's hot and humid, with the sun burning bright into the seventh hour of the evening. The next, the air pushes in with a chill and the trees cast the longest shadows of the year. October is here and the leaves fall to the floor in a pool of reds, yellows, and oranges.