Looking Forward to Autumn

Every day of running this summer has been one of choice:

  • Choosing the coolest days of the week to run
  • Choosing the coolest times of those days to run, even if it means getting up at 5:30 am

With the exception of a couple cool runs, the summer has been relentlessly uncomfortable for runners. Summer does toughen one up, and I’ve broken many personal speed records, but have run less, overall, than I did in the winter. I’m really looking forward to the fall. It’s when we are running The Great Climate Race to raise funds for solar panel projects in the lower mainland. Trust me, Canada needs this solar technology, not just to diversify energy and to do the right thing, but to climb out of the oil caused recession, which seems to have put our main income into the worst nest egg.

Every night before going to bed I’ve been soothing my thoughts with dreams of autumn, my favorite season. Thoughts of crisp days and oak leaves falling on campus. Thoughts of chilly nights and stars. Thoughts of cold beer and mulled wine. Thoughts of firelight and candles and old books. Thoughts of my black cat Radagast cuddling up to me like usual, purring, while I sit on a sofa reading a book, with harsh rain pelting our windows and winds howling outside. I can’t wait to wear my husband’s too-big flannel robe, as we always keep our heat way down in the colder seasons. Then there will, hopefully, be a good return of salmon coming up the Fraser and other rivers. I have worries this year about the salmon because of the heat and warmer water temperatures. Rivers here are lower than usual due to both lack of rain and decreasing snow pack.

But let me return to my autumn dreams. My dad and I shared birthday celebrations as ours were a week apart in October, so I think of cake, a deck outside their house full of leaves falling from cool skies–leaf burning or firepit smells in the background. I remember hiking in the woods around their house or on the trails at Turkey Run, during those last summer weekends before the state parks closed to frost and ice. I remember big laughter and late nights with frosty breath leaking out our mouths as we sat on the back deck, talking and dreaming.

Even though he’s gone, I have my new home, which has also brought many fine memories. In September we sometimes visit salmon runs. It is often pouring down rain at that time of year but occasionally you get that perfect cool, sunny fall day. You know the kind I’m talking about. When frost is around the corner and pumpkins shine bright orange–when apples tumble from trees and there is that perfect balance of warmth and cold playing on your face.

Sometimes we go to big marches to protect wild salmon. Thousands in bright colors come to the sound of drums–to call for an end to overfishing, aquaculture, pollution of waters, and so on. A couple years ago I did a paddle for wild salmon down the Fraser.

I’m the girl in the back row (the captain is behind me)

The paddle was part of a five-day trip of canoeing down the Fraser to raise awareness of the protection of wild salmon. I went only on the last day, still paddling for five or more hours until we entered Musqueam Territory, lowered our paddles, and respectfully waited until we were given permission to come on to their land. They they treated us to a feast, and I have never tasted such wonderful wild salmon or bannock bread.

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