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Autumn’s Call

It is no secret that autumn is my favorite time of year. I love the cooler weather (which is relative here in Florida I admit), the colors (which are not so prevalent here in Florida) and the holidays (OK, we do have those). Basically from Labor Day until the day after Thanksgiving I am completely in my element (even though winter doesn’t officially begin until December 21, I still count the Christmas season as part of winter). Life slows down from the hectic pace of summer. Nature seems to take a collective deep breath.

As the world is in its autumn so too am I in my own. Five decades of life tell me that I am on the downhill slope of my existence. That’s not a complaint – I firmly believe that the best is yet to come but so too is old age and I cannot ignore it. Being old doesn’t have to be awful; one can stay active in both mind and body and live very fulfilling golden years. My mom is proof of that.

I haven’t taken especially good care of myself over the years and I know deep down I’m going to pay the price for that – in fact some of the bills are coming due now. It is part of the arrogance of youth – which I claim full participation in  – that we believe we are indestructible, that our bodies will remain young and vital forever. That is simply not the case. The only way that happens is if we die while we are still young and vital.

I’ve begun to relate more and more to Frank Sinatra’s “It Was a Very Good Year.” My parents owned that record and listened to it regularly when I was young but it never really connected with me on a personal level until recently. I feel that sense of progression, the cycle of life we all go through. Inside me are the boy, the teen, the young man and the man, all part of the middle aged man I am becoming. It is both frightening and exhilarating;  I am eager to discover this aspect of myself but am fully aware that it is proof of my mortality, a reminder that there may be more days behind me than ahead of me. But there is some comfort there as well. All is as it should be.

I have definitely slowed down. My mental facilities aren’t as sharp as they used to be; I have a great memory but little things sometimes elude me. My wife tells me something and the next day I have to ask her what she told me. Not always but often enough to bother me. My brain could use a defrag.

Yet I still retain so much. I can remember things that sometimes amaze me with the detail of it. A movie seen ten years ago; I can remember the theater we saw it in and who we saw it with. So many memories of a life that has taken me to a lot of places and done a lot of things; so vivid the images. Some have been helped along by photographs and videos that have been taken over the years but some I know are just me.

Autumn is a time for memories, of good books by a roaring fire, of college football games on bright sunny Saturday afternoons. Autumn is a time of burning leaves and memorable meals; of pumpkin pie and tomato soup. It is a time for young children wearing sweaters and coats playing outside while they can before winter hits, a time for old men (and women) to pull their jackets tighter and complain about how it was so much better the way it used to be, and a time for middle aged men (and women) to make plans.

It is also a time of the here and now. I adore autumn, both in nature and in my own life. I love that it is a time of transition, a time for reflection and a time of rest. Winter is approaching, both the world and my life. My hair (such that remains) will turn white as snow one day. My bones will ache with the cold and I’ll feel the end of my days approaching hopefully as a comforting friend letting me know my labors are done.

That day is hopefully long to come. Our lives are like seasons, moving from spring to summer to fall to winter. It is somehow comforting to me that my life is in the season that is my favorite of the four. It is the sweetest of seasons, the promise of holidays, family and friends. It is a time of joy to reflect on a year past but also of a life past, to feel that last warmth before winter’s touch. For me there will be plenty of autumns to come; their call plain in the marrow of my bones. It is a pleasant call, gentle and unintrusive. I look forward to the autumn every year. I always will.


2 Responses

  1. This is wonderful! Thank you for the beauty & truth of it. Since I am already one of the “white-haired” I really appreciate your wonderful, powerfully positive approach to SeniorVille. It has lifted my spirits & reminded me of the potential beauty of ageing when we change our way of viewing it. Thank you for helping me renew my spirit Dear Friend.

  2. Don’t give up on yourself growing old. Your physical condition has much to do with your mental state. Start working on getting physically healthy and your mental prospects with brighten. You have a lot going for you.

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