I wake up early even though it's Sunday, and I'm at my parents house, and in my own room, and they've already left for the day. It's probably the way the sun comes in and hits me across the legs, the way the room is still full of night chill but I'm cozy under heavy comforters, the way I can stretch and turn over and stretch again.

I pad to the bathroom, take a long shower under pounding water, God, I've missed this shower, steaming cleansing streaming water. On my face, my back, my hair; lather, rinse, repeat; lather, rinse, repeat. A towel, (two to be precise), warm from the radiator and clothes, clean from the dryer.

Breakfast, rustle something up in my mother's kitchen. I open the verticals and let the yellow sun pour in, the back porch and trees all brilliant with autumn. T'is warm, a coffee, eggs, toast. Coming home always makes me feel like an old-fashioned breakfast. The house creaks as I proceed to open every shade in the house, windows and blinds letting in both gold and cold.

I have the car, I'm going to go somewhere, no way I'm staying inside on a glorious October day, crisp and clear and warm in the sunlight and chilled in the shade, blue and sky and brightness. Drive a little aimlessly, find myself at one of the state parks nearby, empty at 10:00 a.m. in Autumn.

I'm not dressed for this, climbing; in fact, I'm not really dressed for any outdoor activities, I only have a thin sweater and the wrong shoes but the rocks! and trees! and the air and the way the stream moves swift and clear near the hiking trail and oh! I'm off and moving.

I've climbed this trail once before, summers ago, with my brothers. It's less recognizable with leaves all over, when I get to the halfway mark I am breathing deep and heavy, filling my lungs. I stand on the rocky outcrop and take in the sight of my town, city, county spread out beneath me. Moments, really, then I feel the need to move up and on, stretching my legs to and scrabbling for handholds, I left the trail somewhere and I'm climbing up the side of the hill monkey-like.

I could fall and hurt myself, no one would know. I could get lost (but not really) and no one would know where I was, unless they traced the car left after sunset to my parents. I could reach the top of the world and share the triumph with myself, alone in clear sunlight and brilliance.

I do, and stand there breathing, nose and fingers red with exertion and cold, tingling with life and thrill and power and me. Just me.

I take my time going back down.