Forever Autumn

Most photographers know the best time to take outdoor pix…especially of people…is during “the golden hour,” that period about an hour before sunset. The light is softer, features are less sharp, the sky often has a rosy hue.

I’m down at the beach, was gonna take a few pix….and was startled to realize that the golden hour–around 7:30 just a few months ago–is now closer to 5:30. Fall is indeed here. Unbidden, “Forever Autumn” by the Moody Blues popped into my head:

The summer sun is fading
As the year grows old
And darker days are drawing near

It occurred to me that in the cycle of life, autumn may also be drawing near for many. The heady spring days of college, marriage, first kids and first houses are a distant memory. The summer days of expanding families, advancing careers and maybe the first few close-to-home passings have also come and gone.

Perhaps some are aware of the shortening days, the first chilly winds, a sense of our own mortality and that we don’t have endless days to work on our bucket list. Maybe some grieve wrong choices or poor decisions made decades ago that still come calling as the world sleeps.

A Facebook memory from nine years ago popped up today. I commented on a movie I watched that night, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” about some aging Brits who are all duped into retiring to a rundown hotel in India. I wrote:

“How they adapt to their new surroundings and find that they can still change and pursue new dreams even in their 60s and 70s is wonderful.”

The first person to comment was a work colleague who sadly passed away just a year or two later. For her, it’s too late. I can only hope she achieved at least some of her dreams; she was dedicated to her job to a fault.

For the rest of us, there’s still time. It’s not yet winter, most of us are hopefully not in assisted living. If there’s anything you’ve ever wanted to do, get going. Maybe there’s a learning curve. Maybe there’s physical conditioning required. Maybe there’s a fear of looking foolish, of being laughed at, of drawing stares.

Pfff. Consider the words of nineteenth-century naturalist and philosopher Henry David Thoreau:
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Winter will come and go and spring will be here before you know it. There’s no stopping the clock…but the choice of how you spend the time as earth rests is yours. You can choose to do nothing…or you can take Thoreau’s advice and get going.

When spring comes, I hope you’ll be ready to amaze yourself. 😎

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