As the seasons change, I wonder how many seasons of my life remain. How long any of us has left in this life is an unknown, but most likely there are many springs and summers, autumns, and winters ahead for me.
Still, I feel the narrowing of time and I know my youth is past and even most of my summer years. I am starting into my autumn. I know there are many autumn things to love.
Summer with all its long super-heated days, days of play and outdoor work are past, days when a woman knows her place and feels right in it, robust days filled with shout-out-loud joy and run-in-the-sprinkler laughter, days of being, not becoming, but being who you are and not of going but having made it there days.
Summer is a filled to full time when all we want in life, what we wished for when children, hoped for when teens, and finally fell into in our twenties is there. Since we were told this is what all our years of schooling are to prepare us for, what is there for us once we pass those star-studded happy days?
Empty nest syndrome is where we find our parenting days in recession, melting away and our adult children trundling off across the playground like curious toddlers, in our eyes—still kids—but we know different. So we let them go and leaves begin to dry and lose their hold on our branches.
And that is how it should be and how it happens to most of us Mamas. We find we need the rest and enjoy the changes, the spare time, the quiet evenings with no baseball practice, no requests for outings or rides here and there.
Then we find a little of our inner child still alive and a bit fragile from lack of exercise. “Come on out,” we hear and we begin to say it to ourselves, our shy selves.
Gradually our colors change and we begin to show our brightest sides—oranges, reds, yellows, purples still among our greens. It is the time to find ourselves and drink in the scents and sights of the season.
Do you smell the apples ripening on the hill? Do you see the bright pumpkins in heaps and piles for sale beside the road? Do you hear the wind in the night change its tune and after all the rustling and swishing and swaying in the wind move down an octave on the keys?
Soon we see the leaves begin to fall.
Leaves begin to flutter and fly in the winds of these changing times and they settle to the ground. The trees feel bare and some folks wonder if they are dead, but they are just passing into the next phase of life, the next season. There is much life yet to live and much growth and change to come.
©2014 Elece Hollis, author of A Celebration of Family, from the Helen Steiner Rice Collection.