September has come and gone. I'm standing on the back deck, breathing in the cold morning air with my hands wrapped around a warm cup of coffee. A fog rolled in during the night, and the remnants of it linger on the green grass. In the distance, I can hear the crows cawing at each other. I wonder what they're saying, but more, I wonder where they disappear to during the summer months? It seems they only make an appearance at the onset of autumn. I read something once that said crows were among the smartest of the birds and known for their adaptability. That they can even identify and remember individual human faces. Regardless, their presence on this fog laden Sunday morning reminds me of the summer that has passed by and of the fall that has arrived.
Each October for almost every one of the past eleven years I have run a marathon. Occasionally, as I did this year, I have also run the Boston marathon in the spring. On this morning, as I stand looking over the sprawl of the backyard with the autumn chill in the air, I feel the fatigue of the year's running efforts. The cyclic pattern of training in four week blocks, month after month for most of this entire year, is coming to an end. Last week, I ran the last of the long training runs that I'll do for a while. Next week, I'll race 26.2 miles. But today... today is for resting. It's the Sunday between the end of training and the marathon. If I'm honest with myself, I'll admit that when I awoke this morning my body was thankful for the respite. I know that in a week I'll be ready to race - I've done this for over a decade - but on this morning, with the Sunday fog, the world is standing still and I am relaxed. No pre-dawn running departure; no sore legs for the rest of the day. It is serene and lazy, and it feels good. I don't know how many more years I'll continue to repeat this pattern of annual marathons, but as I ponder this very question, I hear the bold caw of a crow, cracking the silence. I look for it, certain of the direction from which it came, but the fog obscures any hope of finding it.