For photographers, the golden hours are immediately after sunrise and right before sunset. The angle of the sun imparts a quality both sharp and mellow, luminous and sentimental, to images created then. I’m aware of a golden hour quality in my life now, of the sunset variety.
Every time I go to the riding stable, I’m grateful that I can still sit on a horse. I might never look competent on the right lead canter again, but I can get into the saddle and be joyous nonetheless. When I plant my flowers in spring, I’m aware that a back problem, tight finances, who knows what, might mean next year’s flowers won’t be half so spectacular. In fact, my flowers might never be as grand again, so I enjoy them immensely while I have them.
I’m reading like nobody’s business these days, well aware that some of my readers have had to give up print books because failing eyesight required the enlargement options on an e-reader. Other readers have trouble reading as much as they’d like because even holding an e-reader can become challenging after a time. I’m not facing those limitations yet, and so I delight in each book I can physically read (even Churchill’s mammoth biography).
One of these years, I expect to get the lecture about Type II diabetes, and though I try to be conscientious about food choices, there’s little arguing with genetics. So I relish abundantly being able to have a dash of cream in my tea and that little square of dark chocolate at mid-day.
The pattern is one of loving well that which I must leave “ere long,” and while I’m aware that I’m in the second half of life, I feel as if the joy and wisdom of these later hours are more than compensation for any losses. I went to Australia and New Zealand last summer because I would probably never have that opportunity again. I’ll be in Paris later this month because of the same reasoning. Putting off adventures or challenges until they are more convenient isn’t my default strategy any more.
Maybe this is a phase, a golden hour before darkness falls, but it’s a happy phase and full of its own kind of wonder and discovery. At my present age, both of my parents still had thirty years of good living ahead of them. I hope for that kind of a sunset, and this recent upwelling of gratitude and focus means if I do get those years, they will be as wonderful as I can make them.
And if I don’t get those years, all the more reason to head off to Paris NOW.
What’s your next adventure or challenge? Is there one you’ve been putting off? Looking forward to? One you had to give up on? To one commenter, I’ll send a $50 e-gift card.