Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Autumn of My Life

Is it because I am in the autumn of my life that I hang on to this season so fiercely? 
I seem to want to embrace the season so deeply that it cannot easily slip away before I have fully experienced every bit of its beauty.
Perhaps, the lyrics to September Song are subconsciously planted within my brain and I am reminded over and over again that my days are dwindling "down to a precious few."
This song, September Song, could be the love story that parallels my life with my husband.

I've known my husband since those youthful days of May over 50 years ago, but like the foolish girl in the song, I tossed my curls and refused my young man's offer to spend a lifetime together.
We spent those years of planting, building, and producing married to others. 
We didn't even live in the same states during those years.
One day, 30 years after I had last seen this great love from my youth, 
we were reconnected and soon
"as time came around
she came my way."

Now, at this time in my life, I am grateful that during these autumn days my husband and I have each other for these our golden years.

Here is a recap of how we spent this fall season.

While the fields were still filled with pumpkins ready to picked to create Halloween jack o'lanterns,
or pumpkin pies,

we made sure we gathered in some of our favorite harvest foods:
honey crisp apples from Canon City, Colorado,


and Pueblo peppers, fire roasted and ready to be frozen so we could add them to our favorite dishes.  (Click on the link to learn more about these wonderful peppers and to see some recipes that call for the peppers.)

One other fall day, both of us feeling well and fit, and also very grateful that the days of back pain for Jim and the erratic beating heart days for Sally, were behind us, with Boston by our side, we walked the mile and a half uphill from our house to the beautiful sanctuary that is Mount Saint Francis.
Mt. Saint Francis sits an altitude of 6875 ft.  
We climb nearly 300 ft. as we walk the mile from our home to this beautiful site.
I had to sit on the rock wall and rest a bit when we reached our destination.

The day was glorious.
The sky so very blue, with only a few wisps of clouds to give it interest, provided the backdrop for
the vignettes of beauty I saw everywhere I looked.
The uniqueness of the rock formations just above the buildings below begged to be photographed with a border of gold provided by the trees.

This autumn, we celebrated the one year anniversary of moving into our new home. On that same day, we celebrated Jim's 70th birthday.  
Boston joined Jim for his birthday portrait.

The days of this autumn have been filled with many walks "under the sun."
I have loathed thinking of the days these colors would be gone.


Instead of picking up leaves from the ground and pressing them in a book as I might have done as a young girl, I have photographed them as they cling to the trees.

These leaves, complex in color, shape, and texture,  also seem to loath the day that they will fall to the ground to become pulverized to dust under the feet of those who walk under the bare trees.  
Their beauty of each leaf screams out to me for recognition. 
"See us.  Really see us before we are gone."

On another day, and on another path,
the trees appear nearly naked.
My beloved, and his dog, walk ahead of me on the path.
We are walking in the neighborhood where I lived when he and I were dating twenty plus years ago.


These trees, these old cottonwood trees,

have been here longer than I have been alive.
They were here when my grandparents walked these streets.
They shaded this street when my mother and father were first married just blocks from here.
These bare branches and limbs, soaring toward the blue, blue Colorado sky,
have shed the last leaves of this season.
They are entering winter.
They remind me that we too will soon be entering winter.

As I gaze at these tree limbs, I think how they represent the deep connections to my roots I feel in this community, my hometown, the place where my family has lived for five generations.
I think of my parents and grandparents.
I think of the seasons of their lives.
Except for my mother, all from the generations before me are now gone.
I am very aware of the season of life where I now reside.

The lyrics of the September Song come back to me.
I am keenly aware of why I wish to hang on to these autumn days.
Oh the days dwindle down to a precious few,
September, November.
And these few precious days I'll spend with you.
And the wine dwindles down to a precious brew
September, November


And these few vintage years I'll spend with you.
These precious years, I'll spend with you.*

I am truly blessed to spend these precious days with you, my beloved husband.

Enjoy Tony Bennett singing "September Song" by clicking on the video below.


*Words from "September Song were written by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson.


25 comments:

Linda Myers said...

Lovely, Sally. Really lovely.

Kay said...

Oh Sally... This is such a beautiful post. I can feel the love you're both blessed with in each word and the photos are spectacular. My favorite is of the two of you though. You're beautiful together. Art will also be celebrating his 70th birthday next year. I guess we're all in our autumn years and what a precious time it is.

Jean said...

A beautiful post with unusually stunning photos. Also, I discovered Honey Crisp apples this fall; they're officially my favorite now.

Arkansas Patti said...

What a beautiful post. How sweet that you did re-find each other. Now the Autumn years can be quite pleasant, warmed by you love and caring. You are blessed.

Olga said...

This is hauntingly beautiful. Of course, I couldn't even read all the way through in one sitting because it made the tears flow ... but in a good way. What you have is precious.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

What a joy to read this post this morning. I'm happy you and your husband found each other at last and enjoy your autumn together.

I've never heard of Pueblo peppers. I always get Hatch peppers and roast them, have them in the freezer. Actually used them last night when I baked chicken. Happy Autumn to you.

Meryl Baer said...

Beautiful post. What a handsome couple! Glad to hear both of you are healthy.

DJan said...

Autumn is my favorite time of the year, so I truly appreciated the feelings you expressed here, Sally. I love all the pictures, and the beautifully written prose. Thank you, dear. :-)

rosaria williams said...

Something about Autumn helps us understand the finality of life. We experience seasons more deeply.And we look at each other with more understanding and depth of perception. We have ripened!

Friko said...

September Song is one of my all-time favourites too.
It’s just such a lovely song.

Autumn does that to you, remind you that life’s autumn is here too. When it’s beautiful and full of colour it is easy to bear, but when it’s wet and cold and windy, as it has been today, full of misery and harshness, autumn is less welcome.

I am glad that you were able to relax into the words of the song in a good way, with your beloved at your side and Boston to help lighten the load too.

Jeanie said...

This is one of the most beautiful and eloquent love letters I have ever read. How perfect to connect your love story with this beautiful song. Your photo illustrations were so spot on -- a way we could connect with all you've done but especially with the joy and love with which you have done it.

Bravo, my friend. A November valentine.

How are you feeling?

thisisme said...

Sally, this is such a beautifully written post. I love that song. This really is such a lovely tribute to your dear Jim. How blessed you are to have someone in your life that you love so much.Such lovely photos. The leaves really are stunning, aren't they, and they look even more spectacular against that gorgeous blue sky! My, you did so well to climb 300 ft. I'm not surprised that you had to sit down and have a rest. Delightful post.

Linda P. said...

Happy Belated Birthday to Jim!

Jackie said...

A wonderfully-written blogpost.
Happy birthday, Jim.
The two of you look splendid...and I can tell by reading that you are so happy together.
Your photos are beautiful, Sally.

Betsy Adams said...

What a great FALL post, Sally. You and Jim have such a wonderful life together. You obviously have had a wonderful Fall this year. Glad you are both obviously are feeling GOOD these days.

I'm sure that Jim had a great birthday too.....

Thanks for a great post. Made me SMILE from ear to ear.
Hugs,
Betsy

Terra said...

I am so glad you two found each other, and wow, you have some gorgeous places for walks.

#1Nana said...

Did Jim tear up? Lovely, lyrical, moving...the old trees were my favorite part.

Linda Reeder said...

Oh, yes, Autumn passes too quickly. I, too, hang on to the beauty like that persistent leaf clings to the tree.
I got to spend a lot of time outside today, under finally blue skies. The last leaves are losing the battle now, and we are using the richness of the old leaves to mulch our garden beds, beds that already hold the promise of a spring to come again.
I hope I can manage my life that way, thinking that there will be at least one more spring after each autumn and winter.
I do think about the time when either I or my beloved husband will not have another spring. But I don't want to dwell there.

This is a lovely post, Sally. I think I'll get up and give my husband a hug right now.

Rose said...

You've captured the color of autumn so beautifully, Sally! I've always loved that song; I think as we get older we appreciate autumn more, realizing how precious each moment is. You and your husband look so happy together; so glad you found your soulmate to spend these autumn days together.

John Paul McKinney said...

Beautiful pictures and beautiful words. You two both look great. I'm glad the ailments are behind you both. Funny enough, I posted on my blog today before I saw yours and now realize we're both watching the seasons go by. All the best, JP

Bossy Betty said...

What a gorgeous, gorgeous post.

LC said...

A beautiful celebration of the beauty and precious in life and in love and the reality of why we do well to live every moment with awareness and appreciation.

Good job.

Perpetua said...

Sally, this is such a touchingly beautiful post, both in its writing and in its description of your deep love for your beloved husband. I'm so glad you have this tranquil, fruitful autumn with each other and pray it may last a long, long time.

Deb Shucka said...

I wish I had written this! A perfect tribute to what's best about this time of life, both words and pictures. Your gratitude blazes from the screen much like the leaves at their brightest.

Barb said...

A lovely post, Sally. Happy belated birthday to Jim. I'm sure glad you're both feeling so well. It's snowing in Breckenridge as I write this - the forecast is for the possibility of feet. We can only hope! I'm taking Amanda and Neve to the Nutcracker ballet this weekend, so I just need to be able to drive to Denver! Enjoy the season, Sally! Your fall photos are gorgeous.