Maybe it’s that I’m retired and have time to think about these things. Maybe it’s that my mom, the last of my kids’ grandparents, passed away this year. Maybe it’s that it’s a gray Autumn day, and I’m feeling it a little “in my bones.”
I was unaware of this in my early Spring, when everything was new and exciting, and it seemed that life held nothing but possibilities. Each new idea or opportunity was a budding branch in my world. Each book, or song, or new place became part of the colors blooming around me, filling in the landscapes of my days.
As that season progressed and life became fuller, my parents tried to guide me, to help me understand that not every opportunity would be indefinitely available, and that certain fruits, like education, might be best enjoyed when they were offered in season.
I began to look at the people around me, and to understand that they were in different stages of their lives. Not all adults were still striving for more; some had found contentment – they were enjoying their peak years and had achieved the growth that fulfilled them.
My Summer days were filled with marriage and children (growing and grown), and all the bustling life and activity that surrounded them. We were active in church and civic groups, we expanded our community socially and professionally. My beloved and I pushed to achieve our monetary objectives, in order to feed the eco-system that was our home. Life was everywhere. We began to mature.
Finding balance in those times was always a challenge – the resources needed to nurture, grow, and educate a family were considerable. The care and feeding of our family, and the cultivation of each aspect, required planning and time. Time was a resource we prized more every day. As we looked ahead to our futures, we realized with each year that there was a growing need to conserve and prepare for the coming Autumn and Winter.
Then the leaves began to fall from the trees – the kids left home to start their own families, and we relinquished some of our civic and other positions to “new blood” with fresh energy and ideas. Where our resources were concerned, we focused more on preservation for the future (and recreation while the climate allowed) than on immediate daily needs.
I retired from my 37-year career altogether. My beloved retired from one career, and moved to one that allowed more flexibility – and now we will work together for a smooth transition to full retirement for him down the road. The glorious thing about this Autumn season is that it provides such a wide range of new opportunities. We no longer need to sustain the branches that our children occupied, and we can focus on our own core.
The color palette in this part of our lives allows for some travel, more flexibility in where we live, and trying different kinds of work, when we choose. The vibrancy of the reds, yellows, and remaining greens in the coming years is exciting. Lord willing, we will keep up (and maybe even improve) our health, and we will travel through this season together for quite a while.
We know that nothing lasts forever. We know there are many things we might have done better (and for that matter, we might have done worse) in the seasons gone by. When we finally move into the slower, quieter season of Winter, I hope I will still have this perspective – that I can tell my grandchildren that each part of their lives is only there for a season, but if they will embrace and make the most of what they find there, each will be quite beautiful, in its time.
Turn, Turn Turn by Pete Seeger (from Ecclesiastes), covered by The Byrds
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace… …He hath made every thing beautiful in his time. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 11a____________________________________________________ This post was written in response to a WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge. This week’s theme was Easy as Pie (Metaphors and Similes). To see other bloggers’ metaphorical responses, click here. To see some of my prior posts in this vein click here:
- Rolling on the River… and with the Punches
- Leading a Textured Life
- Cultivating a Disciplined Free Spirit