I downloaded a collection of autumn screensaver pictures that wow me every day. It’s my favorite season, although the others have much to commend them. All things being equal, the trees go out of their year’s leafing in a fabulous blaze of glory.
What also never fails to impress me is realizing that it is only in the fall that we see the trees’ true colors, all green photosynthesizing done.
So it is with people, in some ways. I am probably officially an old woman now, no longer able to claim “middle aged” unless I live to my mid-hundreds (my comforting lesband reminds me). That’s not only an unlikely bet, but I’d be loath to take it, anyway. I wouldn’t want it.
But maybe, like leaves, we show our true colors – in fact, we can understand our own true colors – when we are older. Some very intelligent or wise people can do this early on, and are therefore famous. Philosophers, mathematicians, truly wise (if I can even bring myself to say it) politicians.
I wish I’d had this epiphany before. I think I would’ve gloried more in my middle age if I’d always had this image of myself as a brilliantly golden or red leaf. My ADD way of toddling through my life steals those timely realizations from me. But no matter. I’m apparently in the summing-up stage of life now, which is bittersweet, and I’m looking forward to the encore stage, when I let out all the stops and enjoy the hell out of whatever I’m doing.
The summing-up stage can be a really interesting paradox. It seems that in our youth, we’re passionate about everything. But time tempers and, in my case, those passions cool for any but the things that most affect my heart, like planetary destruction or abuse. The sheer obtuseness of people still gets my goat, too, but that’s always with us and I more accept it more than I get angry about it.
So, I had my leafing time, which was marvelous. I’ve had my autumn and, I insist, am still therein. But no amount of moisturizer can ward off the winter I’m entering, figuratively and literally. My priorities have changed and I’ve settled down to observe, more than participate. Sometimes in bemusement, sometimes in regret, only rarely in panic. I’m beginning to see things in the context of a broad panoply of the magnificent path of life.
And one thing I’ve accepted is that everything moves slowly. Way too much for a youth’s comfort, and occasionally even for mine. Thank heavens for youth. The passion of Greta Thunberg and her like are pushing us out of complacency and denial of the existential threats our bad habits have created.
So what on earth, you may ask, does any of this have to do with books?
I guess it’s just that history is a present thing as well as one of the past. Leaves bud, leaf, color, and drop, but return in the endless natural cycle.
Books also follow this pattern, going through Acts that culminate in an ending. It might be an HEA or an HFN, but it ends, as do we all. Because what are books, but a reflection of our human experience?
Maybe that’s why we enjoy them. Books are condensed versions of life that allow us to see some experiences in their entirety. That’s satisfying for those of us yearning for some sense of closure in a bewildering world. And for authors, the book may enter into a library and have the chance of being found by future generations. For the talented and/or lucky author, the book may be a best seller that summers long on the rankings, before sinking into the icy winter of Amazon obscurity. But then, spring arrives, in the vision of a boxed set that re-releases the tale! Summer reigns again, then fall and winter, when we are penning our next venture into the literary immortality of the Cloud.
Which, one might say, may actually be heaven.
Josette Murray has authored two books, Silver Love and To Be Loved, the adventures of four fast friends of “a certain age” who specialize in righting what is wrong, sometimes barely within the law, but who’s counting? They will never outlive their passions, philosophical and carnal, and live their lives to the fullest. Josette strives to be like them – right down to the overdeveloped taste buds. She is currently working on book three of the Silver series, Silver Sass.