November 8: Seasons of Life
While I often dream of living in some exotic beach location, the truth is… I think I would miss the four distinct seasons. I like winter’s soft snow and its ability to cover everyday drab with an unblemished blanket of white; I like the yellow forsythia and budding trees of spring that remind me that there is always an opportunity to start over; I like the lazy days of summer when there is no school work and lots of opportunity to warm ourselves in the sun.
But my most favorite season is fall. While my personal color palette does not embrace reds, yellows, and oranges – mother nature wears them perfectly. I like the crisp air that demands hats, scarves and gloves in the morning, but welcomes warmth in the afternoon that requires their shedding. I love feasting on soups, stews, and comfort foods like meatloaf and mashed potatoes. And there is nothing like ending the day with a cup of hot tea while seated next to a cozy fire.
When I taught literary analysis, I would spend a lot of time on the theme of nature, and we discussed such lofty terms as pathetic fallacy. But we also discussed the seasons of life – and it occurred to me on my morning walk – I am in the autumn of my own life. I have crossed the magic line that divides time: I have lived longer than I have yet to live. My hair is turning gray (why do trees get to turn a variety of vivid colors?) … the wrinkles are accumulating at an alarming rate … and I wonder, “Are the best years of my life behind me?”
But I noticed something new on this recent morning walk. Not all trees mature at the same rate. Some are ahead of the pack. They are the first to turn beautiful shades of color and everyone becomes excited that fall is coming. But they are also the first to lose their leaves; they remain bald for a longer period of time.
Many trees mature at the same time – I suppose that is why it is called the “peak” season. And while the overall view is spectacular, not one tree stands out. They are all too similar in their beauty.
But there are a few trees who are late bloomers. They remain behind the scenes until their proper time. When the rest have lost their splendor, they begin to transform. Green leaves slowly give way to yellow, which slowly give way to orange, which eventually produce the most brilliant scarlet. When all others are past their prime, these trees have just entered it.
This gives me hope. Perhaps my best years are behind me, but that does not mean there are not more fruitful years ahead.
Yes, I am thankful for the seasons… and the seasons of life.