Fall. Fallen. Fall in. Fall in love. A piece inspired by it all.
This weekend, I fell in love with Edinburgh all over again.
Saturday found me up before the sun. As much as I relish my beauty sleep, I can't think of a single time that I've regretted waking up & greeting the sun as it rises in the east. Venturing out before the sun is like being in on a secret that the world doesn't know yet. Minutes after sunrise, I started my well-underestimated 26 mile hike, known as the Pentlands Push. Physically, I climbed and climbed the hills of the Pentlands. But all the while, I was actually falling & falling for the positively breathtaking beauty of Scotland. Lakes, hills, wild terrain, wild life. Moments like that make me thank my lucky stars, and give gratitude a whole new meaning. The Pentlands Push was hands down the most physically demanding thing I've ever done. And it will be one of the best, wholehearted accomplishments in my life. I say wholehearted because I was there to raise funds and awareness for a very worthy cause, St. Columba's Hospice -- but I also had the support of (and accountability to!) my friends & family back home, who had helped me far-surpass my fundraising goal. They helped me accomplish one goal; it was my turn to endure the trek to reach another.
I was introduced to Eileen while digesting my porridge in the participants tent, just minutes before the start. "You run marathons? And you're going for gold? I'll stick with you!" And stick with her I did, all 8 hours and 40 minutes of the trek. The camaraderie built over the course of the day was natural, and seemingly inevitable. We chatted about upcoming races and training programs -- or, what I affectionately refer to as runners' bond. (One never to be underestimated.) But what caught me by surprise, and pulled at my heart strings, was the story she shared about her father coping with emphysema - ultimately, her motivation to run marathons. "He's my biggest supporter. 'Just keep running, Eileen. Run as long as you can,' he tells me." She runs because he cannot. Her story hit me immediately. "There will be a day when you can no longer run, so run while you can." How many times had I read that quote, and struggled with my youthful short-sightedness to fully grasp it? Eileen had not only given me a renewed sense of motivation, but also a quiet understanding of the deeper journey she was on. It was quite the transcending experience at 1900 feet up.
Sunday, in an effort to stretch my legs after my "hill walk", I ventured down to the yet-to-be explored village of Stockbridge. The main street in the village is lined with cafes, pubs, and vintage shops. You say window shopping, I say post-hike recovery. After some retail therapy, and a well-earned glass of French white wine, I decided to head home. The journey back took me past well-kept private gardens, and the beautiful homes fortunate enough to overlook them. It was then that I discovered Ann Street. Ann Street was a neighborhood that had a spirit of nostalgia and grace. There were houses with 4-columned façades, and front gardens stretching to the street. Strolling past their front gates instantly had me daydreaming of invitations to the regal Christmas parties soon-to-be hosted inside. Clearly I was still searching for an occasion to wear the party dress I fell for in the boutique down the street. (sigh) A little research later told me Queen Elizabeth herself made requests to drive along Ann Street when she made her royal visits to Edinburgh. ("Champagne taste"... as my mom would say. Some things never change.)
Vintage shops. Vintage homes. Vintage stories. What was it about the day that was giving me such an air of romance? And then it hit me - it was the first day of Fall.
Fall has always been my very favorite season. Vibrant colors & hues. A chill in the breeze. A feeling of change. The signs of a new beginning. This time of year has always felt like my New Year - much more than January 1st ever has. Fall is the season that I have missed dearly after 6 years of living in perpetual summer. It's the one that I have looked forward to ever since receiving the news that I was moving to Edinburgh. And now that it's finally here, I can't help but think -- there's just something magic in the kiss of fall...