The Fleeting Fall in New England

Beautiful fall foliage creeps up a building in Beacon Hill. Photo by Rebecca Pacheco.

Fall is beautiful in New England, mostly because of the leaves. Pardon me, foliage.

The foliage is magical, if you’re paying attention. A couple weeks ago while out for a morning run, the leaves on the trees lining the Charles River nearly stopped me in my tracks. They were bright yellow and fluttering down like pieces of gold out of the chilled blue sky. My heart jumped a little the way it does sometimes when I’m happy to be running and unconcerned with my legs or my lungs or the standard cacophony of thoughts in my head, ranging from the mundane to contemplative to crazy. There was just the crazy beautiful, courtesy of the leaves, nay … foliage.

Days later, while running with a friend, I was riveted again, this time by a swath of sidewalk covered in fresh pieces of fiery red. I raced toward them, breaking Runner’s Code, which clearly states that one does not cut off the path of one’s running partner, and scuffed the length of the sidewalk, kicking up the fallen leaves as I ran.

“What the hell was that about?” my running pal asked, befuddled.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to cut you off … It’s just, as a grown adult: When can do that?” I confessed. At 32, there are so few opportunities to scuff through leaves like a child, unless you have actual children.

“Actually, Rebecca, you can do that, at any time, really,” Run Pal countered.

He had a point. Who says you can’t seize a New England fall moment and play in the leaves like you did as a kid? Who says you must wait until you’re babysitting for your goddaughter to this? Or, at the very least, not in the midst of a 6-mile run in the dark when few can see you?

Isn’t that the chief lesson of living in New England? The seasons are short. The leaves change quickly. Soon, they’ll be gone. A present moment is always fleeting. So if the urge strikes to run into it fully, we should take it.

At any time, really.


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