Autumn has always been my favourite season. It has always signaled new beginnings for me – perhaps because I am a university professor and I love the return of the students, the pageant of learning that unfolds around me at McMaster in September and October. I do think that it’s more than that, though – my imagination is set afire by the brisk breezes and greys skies against whose stark light the colours of the leaves stand out, shattering the air like a great kaleidoscope of stained glass – reds, ochres, yellows, browns… all the colours of the Earth are on display in a final spray of fine plumage before the world falls asleep and covers itself with a snowy white duvée. I love running through the forest in Autumn. I fortunate to have trail right across from my house, which goes through a ravine and alongside a stream, meandering up and down hills, through clearings and beside an alternation of pines, maples, spruce and poplar. I can feel my heart pounding with a steady rhythm in my ears, a rhythm that overtakes my thoughts and evens out my anxieties and concerns… synchronising my mind and body with the terrain, with nature around me. Suddenly my senses are augmented and the whiff of the pine needles disturbed by my footfalls is a blast of sensation that exceeds the finest Parisian colognes and unlocks flashes of memory from my childhood of cross-country runs, the urgency of of child’s mind, but also its calm and its sureness – a time when I was even more in love with the world, its goodness and beauty, its seemingly limitless promise. Autumn brings back that sense of promise and renews it. A good run centres the mind and amplifies the senses. I can’t wait for the next one.
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