Have you ever seen the movie "Hoosiers"? Filmed in Indiana in the 1980's, I went to see this movie in the theater with my high school basketball team. It was supposed to inspire us. Perhaps we are indebted to Gene Hackman for going to the State Championships. Anyway, there's a scene in the movie that's hardly even a scene, it's just a small moment when he is driving his car through this rural town. The car takes a turn around the bend in the road under a glorious canopy of trees that have already changed color; as the car moves forward the fallen leaves flutter in its wake, creating the perfect fall moment and a sudden desire to move to Indiana. Ever since then I have been addicted to Fall, mourning its brief duration before it even gets here.
Every time I ride my bike around the lake this time of year I am reminded of this movie. There's one spot in particular where the road bends, the trees outline its path and hang overhead, and leaves flutter at any passing object. This morning was particularly brilliant. Having rained all day yesterday the weather was indeed very cool this morning, causing many of the lake's regulars to stay home. The active rollerbladers, avid cyclists, and dedicated runners that normally crowd these trails had given me the lake all to myself.
Normally I complete this ride armed with my iPod, chap stick, cell phone, and lots of water. I take control of my space and blast Def Leppard on the tough inclines. (I know. Def Leppard?? I can't explain it myself.) But today was different. Today I felt like Snow White must have felt in that forest, an outsider who didn't belong there. Except I wasn't wearing a dorky dress. And there were no dwarfs. And I didn't talk in a helium induced voice. And for goodness sake, when someone tells you to beware of a witch don't you think you should show a little more common sense when accepting food from strangers? With warts? Okay, so maybe not so much Snow White. But the point is, today I felt like a visitor. Within five minutes I had to stop my bike to let four deer cross the bike path and dart into the trees. I almost felt guilty, as if I had invaded their space. Had I seen them earlier I think I would have tried to be more quiet.
I watched squirrels collect their breakfast, ducks swim in the wetlands, birds soar overhead, and observed up close the collection of dew on a thick strand of grass. I walked for several minutes along the water's edge and just tried to be quiet. And to listen. And I decided right there along the beach that no matter what else happened to me today, this morning was a gift.