Tag Archives: weather

Metaphor Monday: Frost


If you don’t like the weather in Atlanta, just wait five minutes, amirite?

Man, another post about the weather. It’s almost like I’m turning into one of those hippy-dippy tree-hugging types, even though I hate those hippy-dippy tree-hugging types. (Who am I kidding — I am one of those hippy-dippy tree-hugging types. At least three times a week, I call my wife out to the back porch to the tune of “honey, check out this sunset!” She indulges me not quite half the time, which is enough to keep it happening.)

We wake up this morning to a blanket of frost laid over everything: grass, bushes, roofs, everything. The kind of crystalline coating that’s second only to a pristine blanket of pure white snow — and given how often we get that in Atlanta, we’ll take it. Of course, that frost is lovely to look at it, but it’ll put you on your behind as you’re coming down the stairs as likely as not. Not to mention the damage it can do to your garden, if that’s the kind of thing you care about.

Point is, it settles in and sort of puts the whole world to sleep — lets you know that winter’s coming. Makes you want to hunker down and sleep an extra hour. Just wait it out. Which I would do, if I only had a brain. Of course, I don’t, so as soon as the opportunity allows, I’m up with gloves and hat on going for a run, with the lawns still slick and my breath fogging the air all around me.

It’s my second-favorite kind of run, behind only those cool upper-50s, lower-60s mornings we get down here to kick off spring and wrap up the fall.

But as I’m out, something jumps out at me that I’ve never really paid attention to before:

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The frost is receding, but not without a fight. The sun is burning it off everywhere it falls, but like a starved jackal hovering over a fresh spot of roadkill, the frost sits heavy in the receding shadows of the trees.

Tenacious. Fleeting, but tenacious.

Kinda like that frost that can settle into the writer’s bones if the day doesn’t get off to the right start. Freezes you out, makes you slip. You can’t quite get started, so you put it off … but then life catches up. Work. Kids. The daily emergency.

And just like that frost clinging to the shadows and pretending that the day won’t come, that funk will settle into your head and throw you off for the whole day. The fact is that for those of us who maybe haven’t quite “made it” yet (whatever your personal metric for “made it” may be), or for those of us who struggle to fit the time into the day to make the words come, the resolve to write can be horribly fragile. A single slip anywhere can derail the whole day, put you behind your word count, and generally make you feel like a failure.

But.

The fact is that, like so many other things in life, the frost is fleeting. The setback that puts you off for five minutes, or fifteen, or even an hour, isn’t as big as it looks. The trees on my morning run couldn’t hide the frost for long, and the little derailments can’t wreck your day if you don’t let them.

The frost can’t abide the sunlight, and neither can the demons and devils that try to stop you. Keep chasing the light.

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First Fall Run


It’s the first day of Autumn, and that’s awesome for a runner like me.

Let’s get one thing clear.  I’m not a fair-weather runner.  I say that with all respect and love for the fair-weathers out there — I was one, too, once.  I know that life.  You ponder running in the summer when it’s too darn hot and you say, “well, when the weather cools off a little bit and it doesn’t feel quite so much like my skin is actually boiling off of my body, maybe then I’ll get out and run.”  Or maybe you made the old standby resolution at New Year’s when it was colder than my black, black heart outside and realized that perhaps the forbidding temperatures in the single digits and teens weren’t quite your speed and that, perhaps, April was in fact a much better time to start the whole running thing.

I get it.  But I can’t live that way anymore.

Something happens when you push past the three mile mark in running.  Up until that point, you consider yourself a jogger, maybe, or a sprinter, or maybe somebody who does a little running on the weekends or as part of a bigger exercise regimen, but past 5k it becomes serious.  The training wheels come off.  The drudgery of your bi-daily run has been replaced by some snarling, feral need to run.  There’s no putting it off til April or October.

No, the all-weather, all-season runner knows that he (or she, obvs) will continue to run whether it’s hot enough to literally bake cookies in your buttcrack or cold enough to make buttcrack ice cream.  The first hot days arrive in May and I think, with all the grim inevitability of that deep-voiced guy from the movie previews, it begins.  The last balmy night in November passes and I know that Winter is coming.

The temperature in the daytime climbs steadily from seventy, to eighty, to ninety, and still we’re out there.  The clever ones run before dawn or after dusk, but the lunatics are out there in the full light of day, roasting alive, logging their miles and waiting for September.  But even the nightcrawlers begin to suffer in Summer.  The humidity dragon sneaks in through the door you left open and makes your seventy-degree morning feel like ninety, sees you back at the house following a quick three miles looking as if you’ve just swum the English Channel.  The washing machine gets a workout like it’s never known.  Your significant other turns up her nose when you come in for a post-run smooch.  (Okay, maybe she does that year round, but in the summer, you can identify.)  You start to hate running again.

But today it’s September 23rd, and that means Fall is here, and Winter is coming.  And here in Atlanta, boy, does it feel like it.  This morning it was a delightful 57 degrees, cool enough to put a chill in your fingertips before you get warm from the exertion, but not so cool you even have to think about long sleeves or gloves or any of the mess that comes when the temperature really starts to drop.  Cool enough to slip a windbreaker on the sprout as I strapped him into the stroller with me (yeah, he wakes up at 5:15 now to go run with me… it’s a problem).  Cool enough to make you feel alive with the touch of Autumn and pumpkins and all that other stuff that fills the roughly three weeks before Winter sets in.

If there’s a perfect temperature for running, it may well be 57 degrees.  After months and months of cooking inside my skin just from stepping out the door for a run, 57 degrees feels like an ice bath after a sunburn.  A cool drink of water after a mouthful of habanero salsa.

I only wish the fall weather would last longer, but as any Atlanta resident knows, we get maybe three weeks of it before the bottom drops out.  Time to suit up and get out there.


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