Monday, October 17, 2011

Autumn Is New This Year

LaubBlätter10Image via WikipediaFall is my favorite season of the year, and it is becomming my favorite season of life.  It's funny how personal experience changes your perspective.  I always thought that retirement and getting older meant slowing down and entertaining grandchildren, but there is more to it than that.  All these elements I've mentioned may be there, but my life and my needs and my interests don't follow those rules.

Now in the Autumn of my years, I see all the books I wanted to read and all trips I wanted to take still waiting to be experienced.  Well, guess what?  I can do some of those things I didn't have time or money for before.  No, I'll never swim the English Channel or climb Mt. Everest, but I never wanted to anyway.  I wanted to write and walk in the woods. I do those things now.  I wanted to tell my grandchildren about their ancestors and I have.  I still do. 

I have celebrated weddings and births and grieved at deaths and failures, but mostly in my Autumn Years, I am learning there is much to accomplish and I am crowding all the experiences in, and it enriches my days and my life.  I write to people I love.  I walk in the rain, well, not much; but I do stand on the porch and inhale the fragrance.

I find I'm doing things for people--no reason, just 'cause I can.  I take out the neighbor's garbage and do errands for her.  I take a friend to church because she can no longer drive.  I take my daughter to Bible study because I want her to have the joy of learning the deeper things.

There is a negative side to this:  I become impatient with younger people who don't see the benefits of Autumn.  They see it as an end rather than a season of fruit-bearing.  They even cut short the harvest and fail to follow through with planning for the next season.  There is Winter and rest and a new Spring coming.
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Things I Learned from Stories

Family watching television, c. 1958Image via Wikipedia My mother loved stories, fiction, romance, and adventure.  She read a lot, and she and my father read to each other in the evenings.  Remember, this was a long time ago and there was no TV.  She passed that love of stories on to me.

I learned most of my morals from the heroes and heroines I read about in stories.  I learned about history from stories.  I enjoyed romance and adventure from stories.  And I learned that real life is the best story.  The memories and the way I remember and reclaim them provide endless entertainment.  The older I get the more urgent it is that I understand the things that have happened to me. 

To shape them into fictional stories is fun.  I get to analyze the characters and reshape the events to suit my fancy.  Sometimes I get to put a different end to a story or a different beginning. 

Some of the stories stay in my file cabinet as history.  They become part of the family legacy I enjoy writing or telling, and grandchildren benefit from them, too.  Some of those stories are guesswork--I may put my own interpretation on the reason for a move or why a couple got married.  Sometimes what was happening in politics or medicine or weather is significant.  Was there an epidemic?  Did a new frontier become available for the pioneer?  Was there a drought?

Stories are everywhere.  Some are true and some are fiction, but they all carry an element of experience and mystery.  Try out your stories.  Tell them, and write them, and enjoy them.  Enrich your life with stories from your life.
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