My internal alarm clock woke me up a little earlier than I would have liked this morning. There was a chill in the air, one that — although it has been quite cool and less humid lately — I am not yet used to. In my brain, August should still be piping hot, even at 6 a.m. The breeze coming through the open window was enticing, and the sunlight transforming the trees to a glowing gold made it all the more so.
I got out of bed, brushed my teeth, and got dressed, laced up my sneakers and walked outside. It was practically cold to the exposed skin outside my tank top and shorts. I felt every hair on my body start to rise as a breeze flowed into where I stood in the shade. While the chill in the air was all but yelling at me to go back inside and dive under the covers once more, I started to feel something else other than just cold.
The itch. The itch was back.
I knew what it was the second I felt it. It’s a sensation, an instant flip of a switch in my brain, that happens every year as the weather starts to indicate that summer is starting to emit its final yawns as it settles down for a long rest until next June. I can almost feel the itch in the air, both the way it feels and in the scent it carries.
I started to feel the itch as a student, way back in elementary school when this time of year meant another trip to the uniform storm with my parents to refresh my blouses and pants, jumpers and skirts. At first, that itch was nothing but a nuisance, an indication that my summertime freedom would soon be coming to an end and would be replaced by classroom lessons and after-school homework.
But as I grew older, the itch started to transform. The itch became an anticipation, a hope for what was to come in the months ahead. It turned into a seed that, only embracing the changing weather and the change it brought, would water into something potentially wonderful. It started to feel more like waiting to unwrap a gift than time being stolen away.
As I began to run, I noticed how this itch was present, how this little bit of inspiration added an extra bounce to my step, a jolt of newfound strength to my legs as they cycled through each step of the way.
I looked up at the sky and noticed how it seemed to be the most saturated shade of blue. The trees were bathed in the gold of the early morning sun. I felt happy. I felt hopeful. I felt the itch propelling me further.
So what matters today is a morning run that almost didn’t happen, but turned out to be one of the best in recent memory. What matters today is a beautiful late summer morning, and all the beauty that it extracts from the earth, from the surroundings I have lived in for my entire life. What matters today is the itch and the hope it brings, as well as the fuel it injects to propel myself into whatever it is that may come my way.
What matters most today is the piece of my childhood that came back to me on the breeze, the piece that pushes me into my future to unwrap the gift that will be waiting on the other side.