It’s Wordsday here, and this week’s word is autumn, with more than one connotation:

au tumn 1: the season between summer and winter comprising in the northern hemisphere usu. September, October, and November or as reckoned astronomically extending from the September equinox to the December solstice — also called fall. 2: a period of maturity or incipient decline. <in the ~ of life>


In the collage, blanked out verse:

These leisurely days,
the Twilight slowly turning the pages
our journal brims:
quotes that have moved us,
books to read,
people we’ve met,
surprises to savor.
Heady freedom gives fresh dreams wings,
as we soar through

And this quote:

“Thy bounty shines in autumn unconfined,
And spreads a common feast for all that live.”
-James Thomson

Autumn has always been “my” season. At least it always seemed so to my heart.

Born right at the height of autumnal color, I like to think of myself as a babe of few days exiting the little homemade hospital in our town, greeted and dazzled by multiple vibrant hues above me splashed against deep blue, in a sort of imprinting event! –as if we bonded, right then and there, Autumn and I!

For me, no other season, lovely though it may be in its own right, holds the power of autumn: to enliven my spirit, stir my senses,  and activate my mind to all sorts of possibilities. And, as I’ve said before, this season of year came to mean, in most of my life, my time of new beginnings.

But what about that other autumn in the definitions above? If the dropping off and blowing away of leaves, the ending of growing season and closing of the garden gate, the absence of all those departed birds and butterflies, seem to signify the ending of the year’s vitality, the words “incipient decline” certainly sound like the end of the vital part of life!

Yet I am in autumn, both ways. And I do not feel ended, or declining!


I seem to have things backwards.

For instance, the “poem” above is actually “blanked out” text from a Victoria magazine’s summer edition (except for its final word)! For me its phrases fit autumn far better, at least since my “nest” emptied out. Spring and summer are typically full of work and demands and a crowding of the calendar, But Autumn, in its slowdown, offers me the ideal time to give myself a break, travel, take some kind of vacation.

And truly, my health and stamina are stronger right now than back when I was forty or fifty–something I never would have predicted.

You never do know what a season might bring. And autumn can be as fresh with new ventures and outlooks as any other.

Meanwhile, it’s the season of richest harvest, in life as well as earth-year. Though I don’t like the words “incipient decline” in the second definition above, I do like that word “maturity.” Now’s when the wisdom of experience reaches its peak of ripeness, and a panoramic view of reality not possible in youth opens up wide over all the fields we’ve planted, brimming with revelations to reflect on and share, to anyone who wants to listen…


What about you? Do you find autumn (the year-season) enlivens you? How about the “autumn of your life”? Does it hold treasures for you the other seasons couldn’t? Or, if you’re not in that season yet, what do you anticipate it offering?

2 thoughts on “The “Autumn of Life”

  1. Sylvia-Wonderful reflection and responses to the word autumn…I had to look up incipient…it means beginning to develop or exist…not sure if that makes the decline any brighter…your testimony of maturity and stamina encourage this heart of mine as it enters the incipient fifth decade of my life…I am a summer baby and have always loved summer…I wonder if everyone loves the season they are born in…I also am struck by your collage…I like your style, in the way you layer and outline phrases. I really like how the bigger swan is part of the pool that the smaller one is swimming upon. And your found poem echoes my current experience of autumn here in the Sunshine State or summerland. 🙂

  2. Kel,
    Originally I included a definition of incipient (because I had to look it up, too!) but I edited it out because it just seemed like too much dictionary, if you know what I mean (and I’m sure you do). So thank you for adding it in the comments here! I’m so glad this gave you encouragement in your “seasonal” journey. It would make an interesting study to survey people about their favorite season and the season of their birthday, wouldn’t it? I have been enjoying your autumn vacation in “summer land” via armchair very much–and glad of it, because I realize a bit too late that I should have planned a bit more of a fall vacation for myself. It’s really my most opportune time.

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