Where I live, October is tourist season. (Most locals have ceased sporting the bumper stickers "If it's tourist season, why can't we shoot them." After all, tourism makes my home town go, and I happen to be a fan of visitors--and plenty of'em.) But something spectacular happens on November 1.
We have a beautiful State Park boasting dozens of miles of horse, mountain bike and hiking trails. One can walk--and I have--all day and never cross the same place twice. From April through October, there are lots of people puffing along these paths. But Sunday, someone flipped a switch called "tradition," and the park emptied for the season. It is truly amazing.
Last week I stepped aside with regularity for visitors wanting to know "How much further to the lake." Yesterday I had the place to myself. The leaves crunching with my footfalls, the water chattering in the creek and the fleeing squirrels, rabbits and deer were the only sounds that met my ear. Suddenly I remembered that for the next several months, I have thousands of acres to myself. I'll smile and celebrate the remainder of fall--and all of winter--alone with my trekking poles, water filter and the steam rising from my sweat-soaked shirts.
I paused for a while on the last summit, waiting for the sun to drop behind a distant hill. A songbird added its lacy joy to the stillness. I'll be back again tonight or tomorrow afternoon at the latest. One can't afford to waste such glory.
What are you reveling in?