I filled the cats’ water dishes, scooped their litter boxes one last time before bed, and headed for the living room to shut off the light when something told me to look outside. I flipped the switch by the door leading to the deck and discovered two bucks grazing on the lawn not ten feet away. The bucks lifted their heads in unison, looked at me, looked at each other, and returned to their late-night snacking. I stood staring in disbelief like a kid who stumbled into Santa.
The bucks continued eating for several minutes before slowly walking toward each other and standing nose-to-nose. I braced myself for a fight but was surprised when one began grooming the other. Then, something else caught my eye. Trotting out of the night, an adult red fox with a big bushy tail entered the scene. He stopped to look at the bucks bathing but unfazed continued on his way into the woods.
There’s so much life in the darkness, I think as I watch in quiet reverence – such a comforting thought as winter draws near in the northern hemisphere. I used to hold my breath for spring, anxious for the outside world to open up. But now that my inside world has garnered more time and attention, I’ve grown to appreciate and value this season of rest and renewal. It’s a season fed by silence, slower rhythms, and less energy exertion – all prerequisites for a fertile inner life.
The wisdom years are like winter, a time to intentionally transfer some of our gaze from what’s happening “out there” to what’s happening “in here.” It’s a time to ask: Who am I beyond the roles I’ve played? What do I value now that needs more of my time and attention? How do I envision the next phase of my life, and what changes do I need to make to realize this vision? What do I need to do to build a stronger relationship with myself, a relationship that will carry me, comfort me, and care for me throughout the rest of my life?
It’s a good idea to consider these questions before you reach your elder years. The search for answers itself will turn your attention inward and set you off on a journey that will serve you well as you age. Don’t wait for the light to return. Go inside and find magic in the darkness.
P.S. – If you’d like to learn how to take better care of yourself in your wisdom years, listen to my new audio workshop called, Self Care for the Wisdom Years. You can learn more here.