It is so glorious a day that I have spent most of my Sunday outdoors and, as it is so often, time is on my mind...its passing and its effect on each of us as we live out our lives. This morning I took a walk before going to church and noted once again of the change of season as we head into late summer. It is the time of year when a reflective naturalist notices a familiar annual milestone...a different feel to the air and light...different scents, sights and sounds that whisper that the summer, though still going strong, will not last forever. The goldenrod has not yet come into bloom but its fragrance drifts through the meadows and soon its color will join that of ironweed, Queen Anne's lace and Joe-Pye weed, creating a late-summer palette of bright yellows, pinks and purples. Today the geese were flying, not yet in migration but in family groupings of parents and fledglings now old enough to take to the air. Though we have not heard much from them for the last few months, their honking calls will be a common commotion now that the young are airborne. The grackles have already started their flocking behavior, as have the barn and tree swallows and today I noticed the same of robins as I walked. And happily the cricket and katydid chorus has begun once again
While thinking about these predictors of waning summer I began to draw some parallels between the natural world's rhythms and those of my own life. This time of year is not as exhilarating as spring, not filled with the associated newness of life and promise of what is yet to come. And yet, it is a richer, fuller time. A time when when the fields are filled with insects and ripening seeds that will sustain the young of many species who are maturing past infancy. For many wild creatures it is a time of waiting and preparation for what will come next, be it migration or hibernation, or just coping with the leanness of winter. For the most part, the birds are past their nesting seasons and are finishing up their child rearing duties, frogs and salamanders have long since left their young to fend for themselves and many of the first year mammals will be on their own come fall. It is a time of transition for the natural world and this year I am finding the same to be true for myself as well.
I have loved being a mother and raising and sharing in the homeschooling of my children. I have found meaning and joy in watching them grow into the adults they have become and in knowing that God holds them closely. Now, however, I am entering into a season uncharted in my experience and I wonder about where it will lead. I am now past childbearing but not past nurturing and caretaking. I am past the sense of immortality of youth but because I understand that my time on earth is finite I want to live my life intentionally. As with the late summer season I recognize a richness to this time and the potential to sustain the life of others in a way that my earlier years did not allow for.
There is a verse in Philippians that has echoed in my mind for as long as I have known God, "...for it is God who works within you both to will and to work for His good pleasure." My prayer has become that He will lead me into the future in keeping with His good pleasure and that He will direct me towards what I am to be and to pursue in the years that lie ahead. Right now, at this time of transition, praying is all I know to do. I have every expectation that, just as the fields are being readied to feed those who will depend upon them, I am being prepared for whatever God's good pleasure will lead me to .