On September 30, 1963, Lewis writes to Jane Douglass:
“Yes, autumn is really the best of the seasons: and I’m not sure that old age isn’t the best part of life. But of course, like Autumn, it doesn’t last!”
Lewis was approaching his 65th birthday (November 29) when he wrote this, hardly what we consider old today – at least hardly what I consider old! Yet, he seems to have felt old. Did the fact he considered himself, in many respects, a 19th Century man (though born in late 1898) contribute to this feeling?
During the last decade of his life he had known the highest of highs in his marriage to Joy Davidman and the lowest of lows in her death; he traveled through A Grief Observed, and in that journey while his heart was both broken and healed, his body was broken and was not to be healed.
Regarding autumn being the best part of life, it’s too bad Western society doesn’t celebrate that fact; it’s too bad the church doesn’t celebrate that fact. I am finding Lewis’s observation to be true – the journey has never been better – the Sun never stronger – the breeze from the east never sweeter – the well of life in Christ never deeper or more refreshing – the land where the Emperor (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) lives beyond the sea never surer.
[All excerpts from letters taken from The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Walter Hooper editor, Harper San Francisco.]