The Parish Church of St John-at-Hampstead

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October 2017

The Twilight Years

Canon David Winter for Parish Pump

It’s Autumn once again, or as the Americans call it, ‘Fall’. There is something about Autumn that speaks of transition: from sun and holidays to mists and long nights: Keats’s ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’. It’s not Winter, but it is Winter’s herald. When the nights grow longer, we know it’s not far away.

I suppose for all those reasons we also often associate Autumn with the twilight of life. Once our working days are done, and we’ve enjoyed the early years of active retirement, many people then enjoy (and I do mean ‘enjoy’!) the twilight years of reflection, memories, and family, without the pressure of needing to ‘justify’ themselves or ‘prove’ anything. There’s a wonderful verse in Psalm 92 which captures the feeling perfectly: ‘’In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap’.

So, older readers of these words, Spring-time green and ‘full of sap’, enjoy your Autumn. And younger readers, don’t dread the future arrival of those twilight years. You may find they’re a lot more rewarding than you expected.

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