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Autumn awakens keen sense of beauty

These past few days, as the autumn weather has set in, I find that I awaken with a sense of uneasiness. I peek guardedly out the bedroom curtains to check on the night’s effects on the flowers of late summer. The worst morning of the year for me follows the first frost of the season. Garden plants at their maximum growth are turned into blackened limp skeletons by the falling temperatures. I just can’t stand the sight of such hope and promise cut down, signaling the absolute end to the process of growth that comes with summer.
Every year, I practice the futile ritual of trying to save annuals from the inevitable.
I venture out to the garden at the last minute, usually after the weather report on the late night news. I haul all the geraniums, basil and begonias into the house. I return the ferns and palms to their old winter homes indoors where it is warm.
I act like I believe they will retain their luster when in fact they simply create a mess. Every year the ferns drop their fronds, the begonias get spindly and fail to bloom, and even the geraniums, come January, look pitiful. I don’t like to face the fact that gardening year round can only happen in the south. But if I want to walk in the sparkling crunchy snow or see the crisp blue of the winter sky, I am going to have to go through the pain of change.
These same fall mornings, the trees are beginning to turn into a brilliant display of red and gold. Mmmmmmmm. What a fantastic show they produce. It is the same shortness of sunlight and lowering of temperatures that produces both withered flowers and vibrant trees. They find their metamorphosis in sync with the rhythms of the seasons. There really is beauty in the whole process but sometimes it is awfully hard to acknowledge.
Water, air and earth, plants, animals and people: We are all intertwined together. As always, our creator has a lesson here for us. We know in our heads that there is a time to sow and a time to reap. But being able to experience the joy and value in all phases of the life cycle takes spiritual maturity and faith.
The Oct. 17, 2005, issue of Time magazine features the cover story ‘Living Better Longer.’ It draws heavily from the book ‘Healthy Living’ authored by Andrew Weil, M.D., a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona. The big quote from Dr. Weil which stands in bold letters is as follows: ‘The best we can do ‘ and it is a lot ‘ is to accept the inevitability of aging and try to adapt to it, to be in the best health we can at any age.’
People, as well as plants, have different days for different forms. It is the variety and cycles of life that move us onward. But some things are inevitable and in the mix we get more good than bad. What is one morning of frost-bitten plants in comparison to weeks of colorful fall foliage? Sometimes I cover my eyes so tightly to avoid the anticipated image of deteriorating flowers that I fail to awaken to see the trees in lavish display.
I don’t expect anyone under the age of 30 to get a bit of this, but I can sure apply it to my life and stop my complaining about dead plants.

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