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Where do you place yourself  on those oft over-used metaphors relating the span of our lives to the time of day or the season of the year?  Spring, summer, fall, winter?


The lyrics to September Song sounded so poignant and far away when I sang them in my 20’s and could easily disengage from their implications. Yesterday, when I was middle aged and still enjoying September Song, I easily convinced myself that September had not arrived.  I was perpetually  suspended between the vitality of July and August.  Now, there’s no denying that September has passed by.  Much of the work of life is now complete.


Just HOW close is winter?  The leaves on the trees are still pretty green right now, but in a matter of a few short weeks, they’ll be bare. Seeds and berries have replaced flowers.  I’ve seen excited flocks of swallows preparing for their journey South. The osprey have abandoned their tall perches and moved on too. Perhaps with global warming some of us can linger in the bright sunlight a bit longer before a colder harsh reality enters the picture and it becomes too late for many things.

At this time of my life, I don’t want to identify myself with a damn season. I’m wise enough to know it certainly isn’t spring, but not willing to concede that summer has passed.

Inexorably, all paths lead to The Great Slow-Down, but  slowing down can feel just right at times.  I love the excitement of the new and the energy that accompanies it, but, it’s also become equally pleasant to pause, reflect and gaze at the micro/macro wonder of it all, with no urgency to move on.


There are times, when I glance at the mirror, at the physical side of myself, I see only PPT (past prime time). Stepping in or out of the shower, always brings a sharp moment of disappointment and disbelief when confronting the reflection before me.  Really????  Why does my mind continue to cling to an outdated image?

It’s easier now to find beauty and interest in the imperfect and fragile. I definitely tire more easily, not just from physical exertion, but from chaos and too much noise.  I try to conserve my energy for where I might make a difference. I think I know what and who to avoid, for my own self interest.  Maybe that’s the beginning of wisdom.

On the clock of life, I’d probably unrealistically place myself  at mid afternoon.  The shadows are deepening, but there’s still enough light for me to observe and wonder and play outside.

My body is very foolishly comfortable when it’s left alone, and little is asked of it, especially when in front of a computer.  However, the writing is on the wall.  It’s absolutely use it or lose it time.  My physical self needs to be prodded and coaxed into going beyond what it’s lazy self is satisfied doing. I’ve noted that my clock actually reverses itself during times of activity, when I feel a new spring in my step. It’s remarkable.  I take note and keep promising myself more.

My mind feels more curious that ever about life/death issues.  I rarely allowed myself to even consider dying when I was young.  But in order to truly live we all must be aware of our own mortality.  There’s much to learn from the great minds and writers of history.   I want to develop a meaningful personal philosophy that will allow my aging self to grow older with grace and see me through the good and bad times with some aplomb.

At this moment, in real time, the morning sun is sparkling on the water.  The entire glorious day lies in front of me.  The green leaves can easily convince me that it’s still mid summer, although the air is decidedly cooler.  But for now, life has begun again.  Sunset and winter are hours/months away.  If life can be a metaphor, then let this day be a lifetime.



Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.


  • Sheri Overall says:

    Great food for thought, Dianne!

  • devapnek says:

    Thanks, Carol.

  • Carol Kosteerka says:


  • devapnek says:

    It’s remarkable what we still have to say to each other, isn’t it? I admire your fight and outrage. JUstified for sure. I had a lot of that too, but it got left behind somewhere along the way. Yes, the battles will continue and we each chose where to shine the light! Love you too and this WILL be the year of face to face reconnection!

  • Eleanor Moriarty says:

    Ah my wonderful childhood friend. Am always drawn into your musings. Wonderful and poignant thoughts, however before you travel any comfortable corridor of aging, we have before us lots of work to continue. You have nurtured and will continue the creative and artistic endeavors of youth for many many years.
    My passion, anger is continting in the tradition of Irish political pundits. I fight on and will continue to with my last breath. As Benjamin Franklin said, when John Adam’s asked him in his role as ambassador to France. What do I tell the French who we are.asking us to define America. Franklin’s response was. “A REPUBLIC IF WE CAN HANG ONTO IT”
    so the battle will continue. We do only what we can. You have contributed and need to continue to
    Stoke the creative spirit because through that there is promise and hope. In the meantime. I will do what I have always done, street fight
    Have not said this enough, but you are one of my important markers’s journeys D. Love you