Running Past Roses and Decorative Tombstones

This is the third autumn that I’ve celebrated by heading out at sunset with my running shoes laced up for a jog around the neighborhood.

The first year,

I ran because it was out of character for me. I was months out from a terrible breakup and desperate for something new to bring a fresh breeze into this girl’s mortified soul.

The second year,

I ran because of determination: I would be a person who runs. I pushed myself past the wall and kept going.

This, the third year,

I run because my mind so longs for quiet and fresh air that it seems unkind not to allow myself that.

It’s a bookend for what the year has been like since the last time this season was upon us. The dreadful California summer weather has tempered a bit, and the evenings are slowly but surely becoming not-hot. I wouldn’t go so far as to call them “cool” quite yet, but soon, perhaps. I notice that it’s “this time of year” again when I find myself running past decorative tombstones and ghosts, and know that it must be only weeks until Halloween. It takes a few times being out before it’s normal to see skeletons displayed on lawns and doorways adorned with fake spiderwebs, but soon it’s commonplace, rather than scream-inducing.

Sometimes being outside means needing some quiet, and other times music is the perfect company. This time of year is quiet, through and through.

There is a house that I run by every time I’m out. Well, I run until I get to this house. It is impossible to just run past, as it sits, cozied up behind the most opulent garden, on the corner of Inverness and Duell. I peer curiously into the lush greenery, winding paths, and babbling fountains that hide what I feel certain is some magical cottage just around the corner from my home. There are these way-over-my-head towering rosebushes with blooms in every color and scent. I can’t help but sample their aromas as I pass, kneeling for the deep purple flowers at the bottom of the bushes, finding that they smell like plums and perfume, and reaching on tiptoes, even for my almost-six-foot-tall-frame, to reach the high-up sunrise-colored orange roses whose scent is reminiscent of honeysuckle and daylight.

I wonder what next year will be like.

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