I always enjoy the days of fall as a time of reflection, looking back on the past six months of our growing season to ponder possible changes for next spring. While the air is crisp and cold, there's also a sense of finality knowing that winter is fast approaching. Trees shed their leaves, birds begin to flock, animals hibernate, and I spend time putting away outdoor furniture, dumping the compost tumbler, and moving the woodpile closer to the house. Although retirement is still 4-1/2 years away, at 66 years of age I find myself contemplating how many autumn seasons I have left on this earth. Without sounding morbid and pessimistic in my approach to life, I have a sense of realism of what life holds for me in those golden years to come.
The cycle of life is genuine and relentless in the way it demonstrates consistency and fortitude. Whether I live to 100 years of age or die tomorrow, I have a sense of fulfillment in all that I experience. I often think of those ancestors 400+ years ago who rarely traveled more than a few miles from home. No doubt there will come a time in the near future when my descendants journey into the far reaches of the solar system without giving any thought of my rather simple lifestyle. However, we all have an imagination to build our realities on.
The end of the day and the accompanying sounds of wildlife are treasured more than ever. My senses of sight, smell, taste and hearing are amplified in ways I never imagined. While those sands in my hourglass slip away, they represent unique memories of people I've met and interacted with. I'm excited about the journey ahead as never before.