Day 4:: Autumn Late Afternoon

Orange flower Day 4

THE LOON ON OAK-HEAD POND

cries for three days, in the gray mist. cries for the north it hopes it can find.

plunges, and comes up with a slapping pickerel. blinks its red eye.

cries again.

you come every afternoon, and wait to hear it. you sit a long time, quiet, under the thick pines, in the silence that follows.

as though it were your own twilight. as though it were your own vanishing song.

~ mary oliver

Seasons, they come throughout the year. Periodic changes in the weather and scenery. Depending on where you live, the changes can be oh, so subtle. Seasons, they come throughout a life. Changes in temperament and body. Depending on where you live, the changes can be oh, so hidden. These seasons do not move back and forth. These seasons stay on a while and then move forward. Always forward, never repeated.

Autumn is my season now. My children are grown. Grandchildren abound. I am not young, nor old.  The high energy of morning and early afternoon are past; the deep stillness of night is not here yet in my day. I live in the late afternoon, on the edge of twilight.

Day 4 autumn 2

There’s a popular saying that’s been going around for some time now, “Fifty is the new Forty.” Stay grounded. Fifty is fifty. Fifty needs bifocals and trifocals.  Fifty needs crowns. Fifty needs high volume on the television; low volume on the car stereo. Fifty needs a harder chair. Fifty needs shoe inserts. Fifty has grown accustomed to the increasing “laugh lines” and “crow’s-feet” that carry the stories of a life lived long already. Fifty catches breath looking at the hands, with skin now creasing and looking old(er).  Fifty grows grayer around the hairline; lighter in the eyes. Fifty tries new things without worry or fear of what others think. Fifty is not forty.

What is it to be natural? What is it to truly get back to nature? Do we even know what we actually look like anymore? Stop the hair coloring; no darkening, no lightening. Strip away the make-up. Stop the teeth whitening. Strip away the acrylic nails. Look at you. The real you. She’s fifty, or fifty-something, and she’s worth embracing. As is. Oh, there will be times fifty needs to spruce up. A special occasion, or just because, but not.all.the.time.

Day 4 autumn

The young will tell you to do this, do that, because you’re too young to be old. Translation: “If you look young, I look young. If you look old(er), then what does that make me?”  It’s a fool’s game. You will really look like old trying to look young. The world is a stage and there’s a role for you, just as you are. The world needs fifty to play its part, it has enough forty’s to play theirs. And here’s the kicker –> forty can’t be fifty. Fifty carries grace differently. Fifty holds different and deeper wisdom. Fifty was forty; been there, did that.

Mornings are intense. Afternoons are fun. But, late afternoon, just there on the edge of twilight, it’s just pretty and awesome. Pretty damn awesome.

 Day 4 autumn late afternoon

It’s the softest part of the day. It plays with light and shadow. It’s cozy, throw blanket, warm. It’s curled up with a good book, no, a GREAT book. It’s a mug filled with dark roast, or Lady Earl Grey, or hot cocoa with whipped cream {piled WAY too high} — with a dusting of cinnamon or sprinkles. It’s a letter in the mailbox from a dear friend; a love-note scribble on a Post-It from your spouse, or partner, on the counter. It’s the sound of children laughing outside, while inside you are lulled by the hum of the house.

Fifty is not the new forty. Fifty is Fifty and it’s more than okay, it’s pleasant and fabulous.

Enjoy this time. You cannot lather and repeat.

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