Mid-September in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Morning dawns with a chill, while Daylight still strokes rosy tendrils along its rocky coast well into the night.
This is my favorite season to run along the river. Winding along the banks under the evergreen canopy of Douglas fir and hemlock, the last blackberries bake in the sun, their heady perfume wafting through the air. The last vestiges high off the ground are still good for cobbler, if you can brave their thorny concertina wire.
In the spring, tiny bunnies wait on the path for my approach. When I’m close enough, they spring across to the other side and disappear into the undergrowth.
In the fall the bunnies are off-duty, but the path is carpeted with fuzzy orange and black Woollybear caterpillars moseying along to find a new sheltering piece of bark. It’s nearly impossible to run without stepping on one, so my stride shortens tentatively.
Gnats swarm in thick clouds without regard for those of us who are breathing. Frog sentries screech warnings just before plopping into water. Stagnant pools thickly braid earthy ropes of rotting leaves, scaly creatures, hidden secrets, and nature unbroken.