The breeze was a little cooler running this morning. Half-tights and long sleeves are making their way to the top of my running draw. Light-weight flimsy track spikes have been replaced with a sturdier cross country shoe, and it seems that the trails of Forest Park have been blanketed by crisp leaves overnight.
It’s the 22nd September, officially the first day of Fall. A change of season.
This past weekend saw six years since my anxious parents moved an equally nervous freshman into halls at the University of Wales Institute Carduiff (UWIC). Yesterday, as we drove over the one of the many bridges to downtown Portland, 35 degrees celsius (Ok, not your stereotypical autumnal weather quite yet) in our AC-less Ford fiesta, I looked across the city and the tree-line of Forest Park. With shades of green slowly changing to brown, I couldn’t help but reflect on change and how quickly time passes.
Just as the leaves now cover the trails, change often happens without us even noticing. When asked for her opinion, Oprah was famous quoted, “Running is the greatest metaphor for life, you get out of it what you put into it.” And, as always, she’ s pretty much spot on. Just as running has different season, so does life.
For runners, summer is a season of rewards and fulfillment in the form of fast times and racing. Autumn sees cross-country, battling out races, a season of survival and not overtraining amongst all the excitement. Winter represents hard work and high miles, a season for reflection and planning. As Spring racing season approaches, we come into a season of learning and opportunity. Seasons transition naturally. We will experience seasons of lonieness, logging countless solo miles. We will experience seasons of busyness and hard work, fast-paced workouts and a schedule jam packed with races. But each season teaches us a different lesson, whether that’s more rest or less miles, they are lessons that will teach us about ourselves, others, and life. They are there to help us grow emotionally, physically and socially. Each season hold the potential for new opportunities, and for good things to happen, seasons must change.
There will be seasons of transition, where, be they good or bad, big changes happen. For me, I’m approaching a season of transition, graduating with a Master of Science this December. And also the first time being out of education since starting at Bellan House in 1993. If you would’ve told my eighteen year old self, moving heavy boxes from the car to an empty room on Cyncoed Campus in 2008 that in six years time I would be living half way across the world and almost completed a masters there is no way I would have believed you, and neither would my parents with the countless, (yes, slightly teary) phone calls they received telling them university simply “wasn’t for me.” But then seasons transition naturally, from one phase to another, leading us to where we’re supposed to be as a result of the thoughts, values and beliefs we have consistently cultivated in our minds.
While my Dad has always told me never to wish my life away, I’m excited to put on tights and gloves, see my breath in the cold air descending the trails of the Forest with muddy legs, excited to transition from one chapter to the next.
As with running, nothing ever stands still, nothing ever maintains its current state, identity or shape for very long. In fact, all of nature cycles through seasons of change and transformation, effortlessly and naturally. Rewards don’t come without hard work, but as the leaves change and miles are ran, in retrospect, ‘One day, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.’ - Sigmund Freud.