Photo by David Marcu

Celebrating the Dark and Grey

The swing between seasons is drastic here in the Pacific Northwest. During summer, dawn breaks early, and each long day is ripe with potential. Endless possibilities for exploring exist along ribbons of trails, ridgelines, and a skyline of summits that only come into focus as silhouettes in the setting sun. I love collapsing in the dirt or back of the truck in exhaustion, having stretched out each hour and mile of the day, hoping and willing that my legs and lungs will be ready to go again the next day.

Spontaneity is exchanged for discipline. I love the shift.

Different movement patterns emerge as summer passes through a radiant fall into the gray and cool of winter. What was open and expansive in summer becomes narrow and cool in winter. Where there was freedom, now there is focus. Spontaneity is exchanged for discipline. I love the shift. I love muddy trails. I love the darkness that comes early in the evening, inviting me to retire early so I can wake up early and train for hours before my kids are awake. I love running by headlamp, sweating in the cool rain, and watching a sunrise when I’m already miles deep in the woods. I love the mist and fog that hang among the tall trees, obscuring the long vistas and enveloping me in the present. I love shedding layers during a steep climb only to put them on again as the wind whips and the rain chills my body as I crest a high point and descend back into the forest. I love knowing that each run conditions my body and mind for long days in the skin track, building a base for the inevitable return of summer and sustaining my soul through the dark and gray.

Photo by Jakub Kriz


Each year, these seasonal cycles become clearer and more refined. I celebrate the change and embrace the gifts that flow from the practice of lacing up and moving regardless of (or because of) what’s happening outside.  

Abram Dickerson is the owner/principal at Aspire Adventure Running. As a husband, a father, and an entrepreneur, he attempts to live his life with intention and purpose. He loves mountains and the friendships that result from the suffering and satisfaction of running, skiing, and climbing in wild places.

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