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.