I open my door. My bare arms are exposed to the cool autumn air. It's the coolness, and not the calendar, that makes me aware of the passing of time.
I am struck with a sudden euphoria: It is autumn; the air is clean and crisp; pumpkins abound. The October spirit takes me, and I go for a run.
Running is a form of worship. If it's not, I've made it one. Running is my only form of worship to every god or goddess or kami of nature out there. Thank you, deities! Thank you, thank you, for the wind against my face and the pounding of my soles against the earth and the sky above my head!
In my small town no one is out past 9 and as I walk my ruminations are interrupted by the sounds of televisions and the flickering screens that shine through the shades of the neighborhood windows. It would be okay if my thoughts were interrupted by the sounds of families conversing with one another. My thoughts aren't as important as familial interactions. But it's always television. I feel like I'm Leonard Mead from Bradbury's The Pedestrian*, and I even get that dystopia feeling, where I start to imagine that the government is watching me and thinking me queer.
When I run, I feel rebellious and free. Dogs bark to the clapping sound of my sneakers - I never claimed to be graceful - and I send whole blocks aflutter with the distress of the canines. Porch lights inevitably go on and there's always that one loud, male voice that tells the dog to shut up, or - my favorite - shouts, "WHAT IS IT, SPARKY? WHAT IS IT?" and I think, "It's me! It's me! I'm alive and tangible and you're acknowledging me! and isn't it so good to be alive?" And I feel real sneaky, because no one knows I'm there or that I'm thinking that thought. I run on.
In Japanese Shintoism, shinpu or divine winds mark the comings and goings of kami, gods or forces of nature. When I run, all wind is divine wind and the kami can be felt everywhere.
Happy autumn, everyone. If you haven't, consider reading Bradbury's excellent short story, The Pedestrian. A PDF version of it can be found here: http://mikejmoran.typepad.com/files/pedestrian-by-bradbury-1.pdf