I watched a flock of geese flying into a field and recognized the poignant fact that fall was transitioning into winter. I sensed a weight of sadness, knowing the individual shimmery colors would be replaced by grey, cold days, and recalled my conversation the hour before, with a woman in her middle years. She relayed the changes going on in her body, the new symptoms that were the harbingers of her own winter approaching. She would not reach old age; she knew this. About her hung an air of equanimity. And the elderly man, nearly a centurion that had happily told me earlier that same day that he was so much better. His family shared that he never spoke of his dying, and they weren’t even sure that he realized death was approaching.
Yet the signs are evident, easily read by an observer.
I have always loved the fall time, even though I know the shortened days and cooler nights are indeed reminders that winter is just around the corner. I have the same sense seeing my wrinkled hands, knowing they have changed so much from the days of supple, silken smooth skin. They tell my own story of aging. My granddaughter compares our hands and in an epiphany exclaims, “I am young and you are old”. Unequivocal fact.
Fall moves into winter. Unequivocal fact. The furrowed fields and leftover husks are what remains of a harvest of work; planting, watering and gathering, now gleaned by the birds. A part of me is glad to have the awareness, the reminders to love well today. I appreciate the geese flying, for that moment in what appeared chaotic movement, but quickly took on a pattern beautiful to behold. The way our world is arranged is meticulous and magical. Though I felt a twinge of loss, I was so glad to have the awareness, to consider what the message of the blowing leaves and Canadian geese meant for me today. Be thankful, be cognizant, sojourn through this life understanding how quickly the days change and don’t miss any of it.
“Yet a few sunny days…and man delight to linger in thy ray. Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear the piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.”
November by William C. Bryant