Monday, October 6, 2014

The Autumn of Life...

I have spent the morning in my flower beds.  I grabbed my garden gloves and a wagon full of hand shovels, fertilizers, pruning scissors, and out I went.  Even though it is fall in San Antonio, temperatures continue to hit the 90’s by late afternoon.  Mornings and evenings are cooler and give us a slight reprieve from the summer’s sun and heat. Flowers and bushes have a second chance for blooming and are as vibrant as they were late last spring.

I got down and grubby, digging my hands in the soil, pulling weeds, kneading all the necessary nutrients into the bases of each plant and bush.  I snipped off dead flowers from my roses and mums, hoping to get more enjoyment from their blooms before winter.

It was a perfect morning to work, because as I did, I was able to reflect on this past weekend.  I left early Friday and flew to Lubbock, Texas, home of the Texas Tech Red Raiders.  We had planned our second Pi Beta Phi Reunion and over 50 of us were coming from all parts of the country to reunite.  The weather couldn't have been better. Four of us drove to campus for a late lunch.  We were met by that unbeatable crystal blue sky, the crisp, dry, cool West Texas air, we were all 19 years old again, and we reveled in being young again, if only for a brief moment.

Two years ago, we gathered for our first sorority reunion in over 40 years.  It was so fun, we decided to increase our pledge class years and include classes initiated between 1969 to 1977.  Eight years of women, who at one time had spent four of the most formative years of our lives together.

Reunion 2012
As I worked in my flower beds this morning the thought struck me that between the ages of mid 50‘s to mid 60’s is a season of our lives much like autumn.  If spring were the first quarter of our life, fall certainly seems to be the third quarter of life.  

Spring brings planting, growth, the budding of trees, flowers and new growth.  Fall, at least in Texas, brings a welcome and much needed break in temperature, cool breezes and a few rains, allowing the flowers to again flourish after the stress of the previous hot summer months.  Flowers, that several months ago were withering in the oppressive heat are now able to take a breather, regroup and enjoy the lovely days before winter.

As I cut back dead flowers, I thought about the uniqueness of college years.  Four years out of an entire lifetime that leaves such an imprint on who we might be and who we have become.  Four years of living with more people at one time than we probably ever will again in our lifetime.  Four years of meeting new people, developing lifelong friendships, of planting seeds and flourishing, yet still so fresh, so malleable.   Still so young, still needing to grow, still needing to develop roots in order to endure the heat of the summer season of life to come.

I loved my college years.  I pledge Pi Beta Phi as a freshman and to this day some of my very dearest friends are my sisters.  When our family walked down the isle before Steve’s memorial service I will never forget the gift that will remain with me the rest of my life.  I remember looking to my left and seeing an entire row of my precious sisters who had come to support and love Ann (also a Pi Phi and my little sister) and me when we needed them the most. They had come from all over the country and did so because of those seeds that had been planted so long ago in the spring of our lives.  A definition of true friendship.

This past weekend involved much laughter over shared memories. Humorous, often bawdy college antics were retold and new priceless memories were made. There was however, an underlining tenderness and nostalgia, a binding cord, that ran so deep it is difficult for me to find the words to describe.  Perhaps it’s our age, perhaps it’s our journeys, perhaps it’s simply our season, but there was a sweetness that was visible in the eyes, in the voices, in the hearts of each of us that enabled us to be fed and nurtured and to again flourish.

I know I speak not only for myself when I say that there were so many instances during the weekend when we were able to share personal occasions that we had experienced during that summer season of our lives.  Some moments were joyous, some poignant, some tragic, but we found, in this special group of women, our root system had been grafted together to produce much of who we have become today. 

It was those college years that had established seeds that turned into young fresh blooms.  Those blooms may have faded and withered through forty plus years of life, but now that we are deep into our autumn season, we have found in each other, a new sustenance by taking the time to dig a little deeper with our life long friends. We found our spirits and souls were strengthened by the love of this remarkable group of women who all share a common bond in our love of this sisterhood.  We found because we had been able to share those precious, often fragile, formative college years together our bonds were refortified on a level much deeper than we could ever imagine.

It is not easy to make time for reunions.  Life, even in the fall of life, can be hectic and involved.  I’m so thankful that this amazing group of women took the time and made the effort to reconnect, to share our hearts with one another and to remind us all of those young, tender years that enable us to all flourish again.

With a heart brimming with love,

Psalm 61:1  "May God be merciful to us and bless us and cause his face to shine upon us."

Philippians 4:8  "Finally whatsoever things are true and honest and just and pure and lovely and of a good report, if there be any virtue or praise we think on these things."


  1. Love that you had this special weekend with dear friends Ma