December 1, 1994
Autumn as a metaphor for a season in the life process is an excellent one. Autumn is far from a waiting time, as a matter of fact it is one of the very busiest seasons of the year. It is harvest time. It is the time for gathering in, for counting, collecting and cataloguing the fruits and vegetables of summer’s fullness of labors. It is the time for preserving and preparing for winter’s reality.
For the individual it is the time for preparing for self-actualization. The picking up and gathering in of a lifetime of learning. The time for sorting out and defining what the activity and purpose of old age will be. What is the thing that will be given back to the community? What will I bring to the harvest feast, prepared by my own hands, delicious to the tongue, nourishing to the body and allowing it to enter winter with warmth and the strength to endure?
What is my gift? The thing I can share in these coming months which will ease us through winter’s harshness and deprivation? What is the song I will bring before the fire of a cold winter’s evening? What are the words which will enhance hope, and build dreams of a future better than the present? Will I sing it with my own voice or use an instrument I have spent years making in my spare moments? What is the knowledge I have gathered through my growing and can now harvest and preserve in all of its diversity?
Is this what I will share from my rocking chair? Or will there only be silence as others bustle about me in no need of my assistance? Will I share stories with my grandchildren? Stories that build character or laughter and will be remembered and used in a far distant moment when I am no longer able to put my hand on a shoulder and pat reassurance into bones which are sagging in momentary sadness or defeat? Have I practiced my story telling so that it is a polished jewel able to be presented and worthy of preservation?
Autumn is a time of slowing down as well. Taking time to see the beauty of nature’s self-actualization. Will my wisdom, on those cold winter evenings express the multi-layered color and diversity of subtle hues which abound in autumn? Or, because I haven’t allowed the time for gathering in, will my wisdom fall flat and browned around its edges? Wisdom is knowledge applied. Old-age is a time of application, if we have done the necessary homework. Old age may have its limitations, but we have spirit to help us rise above any limitation.
Found this a few days ago, in those old morning pages. The woman who wrote them was just entering into the Autumn of her life. Now, I am reading her words, here, at the beginning of old age. She decided to write back then, to preserve, collect, and create what I need now. She has created a feast, just for me. And I couldn’t be more grateful.