The intense light of summer’s high noon wanes as September approaches. There is a moment in time when the full bloom of summer’s fruition peaks for an instant and then begins to fade. Eventually, autumn’s changing landscape will herald the inevitable arrival of winter with the unveiling of her skeletal, yet beautiful remains.
Those who read my posts know that I am very fond of metaphors and to my way of thinking, there is no greater metaphor for life’s journey than the changing seasons. This year I’m poignantly aware of autumn’s arrival. As August moves closer to September I am approaching the final year of a decade. I’ll be sixty-nine in a few weeks. Technically, that means I’ll soon begin to live my seventieth year.
I open my journal and questions arise…
How have the previous decades of my life informed the woman I’m becoming?
At the threshold to my seventies how am I inspired to reimagine/reinvent my values, beliefs, spirituality, priorities, appearance, environment, and relationships?
Who are my mentors as I grow into my “Wisdom Years?”
What is my prayer at this moment in time?
Where and how do I feel God calling me to share my energy, creativity, and wisdom, as I age?
When I think of the Way of Belle Coeur and contemplate the future, which pathways and chambers invite me to deeper study and contemplation?
What is the personal invitation within the arrival of this particular autumn? How shall I respond?
How will I ensure that my relationship with God continues to grow and evolve until the years eventually carry me home?
I can’t help but wonder if you, too, hold some of these same questions in your heart. It feels important for me as I approach my seventh decade to learn from other women, older and wiser, how they’ve navigated life’s terrain from autumn to winter.
My mother is ninety-one. We share a phone visit every day around noon. She lives a thousand miles away. Each time she answers the phone and I hear her voice, I thank God she’s still on this earth. She inspires me. We often talk about the “letting go” process of aging and how things that were once very important become less important such as: material belongings, a calendar full of activities, a wrinkle free reflection in the mirror, or a spotlessly clean house. Suddenly previous aspects of life that were taken for granted including: independence, health, and cherished relationships are spotlighted and illuminated. We’ve discerned through our noontime discussions that ultimately in the winter of life…love and faith are essential for graceful and grace-filled aging.
Yes…September and autumn’s arrival will reveal the season of harvest, nature’s changing colors, migrating birds overhead, and a time of melancholy. Perhaps the most important question of all (no matter one’s age) can be found in the final line from Mary Oliver’s poem, A Summer’s Day…
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”