Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Lesson From Nature in Autumn

Majestic Autumn Show at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, VA
Fall wears a fiery coat that has wowed me this season. Splashes of crimson, tinged gold, burnt orange, and Sugar Maple yellow adorn the trees and landscape. Colors dance in the wind from points in New England to the villages and hills along the east coast. Autumn shows off its vivid hues in towns and cities across the U.S. as far north as border towns in Washington State. It is evident along the west coast, even traveling to select spots in southern CA like Julian, with an altitude of 4000 ft. Leaves blow and pumpkins, apples, and pears are harvested. The evening chill invites many to sit by their crackling fire with a cup of hot apple cider. Yet the heaps of crumpled, drying, brown leaves stir something else in me.

Witnessing the autumn display as I did on a recent trip to the eastern shore of the United States, reminds me once again that all living things go through the stages of birth, growth, aging, and death. My sense of the sanctity of life and eventual mortality of every living thing, compounded by the uncertainty of not knowing when life will end, fills me with great respect for every breath I take.

I think of my brother-in-law, Jim, who had major surgery on Tuesday. I’m happy his surgery went well, his vital signs have stabilized, and he will be going home from the hospital soon. My husband and I were with him and my sister, Sue, for support, before this challenging event.

Jim, Sue, my husband Steve, and I are in the autumn years of our lives and Jim’s surgery stirs up thoughts of our mortality. I do what I can to ensure my continued good health, but am aware I do not have control of how long any of us live.

Even though I’m in perfectly good health, I might cross the street and be run over by a car. On the other hand, I might survive to the ripe old age of 103. The interplay of my genetics, the environment, and lifestyle influence the outcome of what date eventually is recored on my death certificate.

Thank you autumn leaves and loved ones for reminding me how grateful I am for the gift of life. Every day presents an opportunity for me to grow and love. Like the autumn leaves this year, I aim to burn as brightly as I can. This day may be my last.

Here's a link to the Ginter Botanical Garden

“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.”

John Burroughs

1 comment:

  1. Amen. A beautifully written reminder of how precious my life is. Bright and shining is my preferred path too����


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