I ran four miles in the countryside today. Not enough to settle into my running zen, but it did feel good to get outside.

Crudely painted wooden signs pointed the way to a neighboring farm offering hayrides to happy children. I sensed more outsiders on the roads today as the season always draws people from everywhere to the farms. Apple orchards, pumpkin patches, spiced cider, hay bales, and the scent of Autumn musk were written in checklist format on moms’ October bucket lists back in September, in eager anticipation of reliving their own childhoods or providing a coveted live country backdrop for their FOMO-inducing family Facebook posts.

I don’t mind sharing my countryside with strangers once a year. But they miss the magic of the farmlands in the off-season – the cold, barren winter that will follow, the Spring, when the tractors come back to life and sow the empty fields, and the hot days of summer when the sun draws out the lush green life that becomes the Fall harvest. For most, it’s just pumpkin-spice time. For me, it’s the celebration of life after death. The miracle of another completed circle. The promise of Nature, and the gifts of the earth.

The burning bushes are beginning to ignite; hues of orange and red are splashed across the tops of the trees like a wash of a paintbrush dipped in October blush. The soybean fields radiate a beautiful yellow gold against a cerulean sky, even as they approach their last days.

The main act is yet to come around here, and I’ve got season tickets.

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