The morning light breaks through the thinning canopy and reflects off the amber floor.
No sounds but the rhythmic motion of my feet as they crunch through drying yellow and burnt orange.
Shadows crisscross the path, their haunting maze revealing the previous night’s lingering discord,
Hiding the roots and rocks that seek to hinder my progress
I move swiftly, my glazed glare always forward and down.
The steaming hot breath leaving my lungs betrays the chill in my fingers and ears.
Beyond I hear the footfall of fauna as they search for warmth and nourishment.
I wind along the trail, past oak and cedar,
Crossing a stream upon whose edges ice still precipitously holds before being swept away.
And in front of me lies that hill, the monolith that so often defeats me.
My breathing increases, elbows driving back, as I lean into the slope.
Success is found not on its summit, but in the welcoming song of the Chickadee.
Once crested I start down the other side;
Feet delicately placed between and on sharpened stone, careful not to catch a toe.
Then in and amongst the branches and auburn leaves once again
Each footfall places me closer to my ultimate destination,
With heaving chest and hands on knees I reach my finish line,
The place I love more than any other.