I glare up at the birds in the treetops as I run through the woods. They twitter on without much mind to my pathetic wheezing and shivers. The day is chilled and wet, the trademark of a central Texas January and I am begrudgingly pushing myself through my excercise.
I envy the birds. They are so comfortable in this wasteland of dead leaves and fresh mud, their homes sitting high above the ground, far from predators but close to the elements. The wet earth sucks my shoe off my foot and I’m left hopping in the middle of the trail on one foot, much like the birds on their branches.
The woods are much more quiet this time of year. I make my runs here many times during the week but as the weather chills the livelihood begins to cool as well. It is not to say that the woods are not still filled with life but more that they have been cast with a spell of lethargy. Movements are slow and deliberate but they still hold that certainty that shows that the animals are working well within their wheelhouse.
Maybe it’s just my human perspective but the animals seems obnoxiously at home. They are not debilitated by the changing conditions. The dew on their feather and furs does not make them wheeze like the rain on my skin. They don’t mirror the scowl on my face. A deer trots along, perusing the grasses for tasty shrubbery with the same blank stare it wore in the freshness of spring. This is the life of the creatures that live off the Colorado River. They have surrendered to their environment and find stability amidst the chaos of ever changing surroundings.
I am now nearing the opening where a small bend in the river has created a nice river bank where many people come to have picnics and lay in the shallow flow of the river. On other days I would have passed many other joggers on my way and been received by a crowd of people. Now it is empty except for a heron by the edge on the opposite bank. I spend a few minutes catching my breath. The cold water flows uninterrupted, the world still turning amidst the cold. A chill wind whips me and I begin my jog home, faster this time.
When I return from to my apartment, I take off my shirt, soaked with sweat and rain. I hide myself in something warm and start the coffee. I then move to the stove where I think of the birds as I crack their brethren into a pan, exacting my revenge.