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A Woman's Autumn

It's autumn where I live. Fall. The most beautiful time of year. There's vivid foliage all around me that takes my breath away. The days are cooler, so I can break out my favorite sweaters and jeans and jackets. Cooler nights mean I can snuggle up under the covers instead of kicking them off and cranking up the fan. I love autumn's dark, moody skies. I take photos of spiderwebs in autumn. For some reason it's the only time of year I find the conditions just right. The sun is low in the sky during our morning walk, and the dew is heavy on the webs. When the light hits at the right angle, it's magical.

A spiderweb glittering with dew

This is one of my faves.

I am not spring anymore. I think spring women are young, single, usually childless, falling in love. Everything is new and bright and the body is in full working order. Spring is like the prologue of a book, or that "ordinary world" piece where you see how things are supposed to be.

I'm not summer anymore, either. I think of summer women as those in the full throes of life. Summer women are doing what they came to do. They're building careers and businesses and running them. They are raising families and maintaining friendships. Summer women are the busiest women. They are always doing 100 things at once. They juggle it, all barely ever dropping a ball, and they wonder if they'll ever reach point in life where they can pee without feeling rushed.

I think we spend the bulk of our lives in summer and autumn. If a year is a novel, summer and autumn are the bulk of the book. Spring is brief, and doesn't last, and Winter is usually not very long either.

I'm in autumn. I'm highly likely to have a long and healthy autumn because of my lifestyle. But no matter how we live, things shift in autumn. Autumn is the very epitome of change, after all.

Autumn leaves on a wooded hillside

I've shifted from running, which I can still do, thankyouverymuch, to walking, which I enjoy more. I have fewer aches and pains from walking every day than from running every day. Instead of loud music with just the right beat to keep up with my feet, I listen to audiobooks, and feel I'm doing two extremely good things at the same time. Training my body and my brain.

I've shifted from nose-to-grindstone all the time no matter what, to following my heart. I have discovered dozens of things I love to do. As a storyteller, I'm self-employed. As an entrepreneur, I have side-businesses, and my husband has his own biz, too. I can play with any of them and it qualifies as work. So I can write stories, write blog posts, create promotional memes and graphic designs. I can combine the two and publish a newsletter. I can cook some amazing dish, photograph it, and publish the recipe. I do what calls to me, unless there's a deadline. (There's a deadline now, come to think of it.)

I've shifted away from eating whatever I want because life is short, to eating the things that will help make life longer and better for me and for my planet and all who live here. I followed my heart in that way, too, and it's led me down an ever-expanding spiral path to a cleaner and healthier way of eating. First I shifted to a plant-based diet, and then to a whole food plant-based diet, shunning processed foods and oils.

I've shifted from being sedentary and overweight, to being at a healthy weight and active enough to close my watch's exercise ring most days. And I've raised that goal twice!

I think this shift to a healthier lifestyle happens to most of us at some point. Either when we first notice our bodies beginning to decline or when we hit a certain age or when we are prescribed our first daily medication. We are stunned to realize we are "that age." We look around and realize people our own age and younger dropping like flies. Our term life insurance policies expire, and suddenly we get very interested in getting as healthy as we can. That's why I publish Because I've got this, and I want to share it.

I've shifted away from doing things I don't really want to do. I've refocused my time on doing what makes me happy instead.

I've become intensely interested in climate and environment and nutrition and politics. I think I enjoy life more. I think I relish it more. I feel as if in this stage I am fully becoming the women who has been my lifelong work-in-progress.

And that fits, doesn't it? With Autumn, the plants are achieving their goals, their fruits. The leaves are reaping the rewards of having achieved theirs, the beautiful burst of colorful life before they die.

Like plants in autumn, I've done my body of work. I'm still writing, but there are way more books behind me than ahead of me. I've raised my daughters, and they are gifts to humanity, every one of them. I've built friendships that will last a lifetime. I've released every toxic being from my orbit. I've settled into a deep, spiritual, passionate, and abiding relationship with my hubs. I'm in a very good place.

It's like it took me this long to fully realize who I am. To realize her, as in, to make her real. To become her.

I love autumn. It's a time to bask in a sensory feast of colorful foliage, the smells and tastes of cinnamon and apples and pumpkins and spice, the sounds the geese crying farewell as they head south for the winter, and the touch of that brisk autumn air. For me, it's a time to bask in the harvests of my life, and enjoy the beauty of that life more fully than ever before.

It is not a time to waste worrying about winter. Autumn isn't a time to do anything besides relish autumn.

That's what I'm trying to do with my autumnal years. Relish them...

You know, most of the time. Right now I have a novel to finish.


Sidebar: It's October and my deadline is November 3rd. I am in the do-or-die, crunch-phase of a new Brown and de Luca thriller. I'm going to reveal its title in the Tuesday newsletter, so make sure you've subscribed (bottom of every page on this site.) And so I am about to enter the most fun phase of creating for me. Putting it all together, polishing it to a shine. Oh, this is the good part! It's also grueling, torturous, maddening, and intense. Beam me your best vibes!

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thank you for the beautiful fall pictures and especially the Charlotte spider

Maggie Shayne
Maggie Shayne
Oct 07, 2023
Replying to

Oh you're welcome. I've posted a bunch on my Facebook Page too. Let me know if you need a link.

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