Monday, December 10, 2012

The autumn of life

I am really enchanted by older women who embrace their wisdom years, who wear the mantle of age with pride and acceptance. I have so much to learn from them about aging gratefully and gracefully—about the transformation from one season of our life to the next.

Some time ago I saw a quote from Taylor Caldwell's book Bright Flows the River in which she spoke of the autumn years of our lives:

"It is autumn, appearing dead ... but in reality this is the busiest time of year for nature, who is laying down seeds to protect them against the winter and to fertilize them.

"Perhaps that is also true of the autumn of our life: In the last years of our lives we are burying the seeds of the spring of our resurrections, the ripened seeds of our experiences and our knowledge."

I like that a lot. It reminds me of a late fall drive I once took from Chicago to Minneapolis. The route passes by several fabulous stands of trees, and they were no longer dressed in their bright early fall colors but now stood proudly with their muted rust tones and bronzed outfits. I was struck at how I used to disdain these more muted colors in favor of the joyful, bright oranges, reds and yellows earlier in the season. But somehow on this trip—perhaps thinking about my own aging process—I saw the beauty of the rust and bronze leaves. I saw the heartiness, too. These leaves were still hanging on despite strong fall winds which took many of their more colorful brother and sister leaves!

Let's celebrate our aging process and see the beauty and the wisdom that accompany it. Here's to muted rust-colored leaves still clinging to trees—even now as winter approaches!

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