It’s early morning in October and the heat of summer is a memory. I’m snuggled in my sleeping bag waiting for the sun. For the moment the coming day is only a slight glow. As light creeps down the canyon cold air is receding, pooling and hiding in the lowest possible places. When direct light from the sun arrives everything will warm and I will leave the tent in comfort, but right now it’s freezing. It’s always coldest just before dawn.
I can almost hear the surrounding moisture freeze while it clings to the fading leaves. I inhale deeply, tasting the crisp air. I am excited to see the yellow leaves of the cottonwood trees surrounding my tent light up in the morning sun. I know that it will be brilliant, but I will have to wait.
By now there is enough light to read a chapter from my book. My fingertips are chilly and I am forced to hold the book with one hand out of the sleeping bag and every few minutes I switch just before they go from cold to numb.
After reading I stretch. At first I reach tall and touch both ends of the tent, scratching the frost on the walls. Next, I stretch my ankles and wrists, clockwise and counter. Then it’s time for the stomach, butt, legs, back, and finally, my arms and neck. After this ritual I dress slowly, taking time to enjoy the chill against my naked skin.
Birds are chirping outside my tent. The sun is near. I lie on top of my sleeping bag and enjoy this moment. I breathe steadily. My tent lights up as the sun pours warm rays upon it. Frost crystals on the walls contract then make a clinking sound as they fall. I sit up, lean over to unzip the tent and smile. All of this indicates the season is upon me. This is autumn.
Copyright 2010 Louis C Arevalo