The first Saturday morning bike ride in sub-40° temperatures and overcast skies. Convincing yourself that as long as you make it out the door, it counts as a workout. Bundled up in at least two layers from head to toe, telling yourself that it's not really that cold. You just have to acclimate to the cooler weather. Getting home 30 miles later with thoroughly frozen hands that thaw to burning pinpricks. A well-deserved cup of tea and a hot shower.
The first pile of leaves raked up from the ash tree that has gone from green to golden seemingly overnight. The kids jumping in, heaping the leaves around themselves; tossing handfulls up in the air and laughing as the leaves shower back down, sticking to sweaters and hair. Thinking maybe you should be trying to capture it all on video, but unwilling to tear yourself away from just being in this moment.
The first hike with snowflakes drifting down at the trail head. A few miles of distance and one or two thousand feet of elevation later, the snow is knee-deep in places. Facing into the wind, you half-wish for goggles and a balaclava. But the slight stinging of the driving snow is just the mountains' way of teasing you, telling you that you're always welcome to come visit as long as you're willing to accept their house rules.
Times of change are a reminder of the richness of experience that awaits us. After a summer full of sunshine, shade trees, and summits, it wouldn't do to forget or take for granted that we're surrounded by wonders that are subject to the slow rhythms of time. The turning of seasons reminds us not to mourn the days that have passed, but to celebrate days yet to come.