Last week, the morning air was so chill that I could see my breath as I ran, an unseasonable bit of cold that encroached upon summer, threatening to end it. Even though I wasn’t ready for summer to slip away, still I loved the coolness brushing my arms and riffling through my hair, the fog of warm breath that trailed my strides.
In every season, my lungs pant out air, expanding with speed, fueling my runs. I hear the intake and the expulsion even over the music of my ipod, and I measure my pace by their rhythms. But my exhalations are invisible–present but not seen, essential to my existence, to every step I make, but transparent and therefore easy to forget that they coexist with me–or, rather, that I exist because of them.
Mornings like these, however, all of them striding irrevocably in the direction of winter, materialize the usually immaterial. My breath precedes me, and I quickly overtake it, watching it as it wafts over my shoulder even as another cloud forms in my warm mouth. Visible spirit hovers alongside me; a wispy holy ghost sustains me.
I run into the opacity of its presence and suddenly feel transparent myself, light and wind-blown. My feet find an easy cadence, and I face forward, squinting to keep my eyes on the pillar of cloud that precedes me.