Yes, it's only early August. Fall is a long way off and we have weeks of hot weather ahead. There's still a bounty of summer fruit at the grocery -- peaches, cherries, blueberries, watermelon. And our own tomatoes are finally ripening and there are tomato sandwiches to enjoy.
A rainstorm Wednesday night left cooler air behind as well as a spattering of early-turning maple leaves on the summer grass. The hay that will see our cows through the winter has been delivered and stored in whatever dry spaces John could find. Some of the garden is ready to plow under and sow in a cover crop. Inexorably, our thoughts turn to making ready for the cold months.
And I see a parallel to the stage of life in which I find myself. At seventy-five, I feel a sense of, not winding down, but winding up. It's not that I feel a diminishing but more that I'm aware that, sooner or later, an end is coming, and I'd like to be prepared.
Personally, John and I are in better health than we've been in a long time. But as we've both passed the age at which our parents died and as we've said goodbye to so many folks our age or younger, it's perhaps inevitable that these thoughts arise.
I don't find this depressing. On the contrary, it focuses the mind wonderfully on what's important, on living this endgame time -- whether measured in days or months or years -- to the fullest.
Being aware of and prepared for what's to come (as prepared as one can be for the unknown) is almost a cozy feeling, like looking forward to a fire in the fireplace on the long winter nights, like knowing that there's plenty of food in the pantry and, rather than railing against winter, settling in to enjoy it.