Except for oaks and beeches, most trees have lost their leaves. The landscape begins to look rather bare, but around the edge of the lawn, shrubs are shining red, orange, yellow, and even pink. Thank goodness for shrubs!
We love our shrubs when they bloom in the spring. Now they draw our attention again as their late autumn leaves color our personal landscape. Spectacular Japanese maples redden or else yellow into orange. Weeping cherries and magnolias are yellow. Double-file viburnums turn dark red. Even that lazy old forsythia, who has been resting on its early laurels for six months, finally DOES something as its leaves tinge toward red potato skin.
The lives of many octogenarians are weakening of failing as their limbs stand bare in anticipation of the coming deep freeze. But some few of these 80-somethings are still going full steam, and they draw our attention. I want to be like that, we think, as if we have the choice.
Our choice is now, while we are young: daily exercise, a nourishing diet, and mindfulness.
When the body finally becomes completely bare of energy in the late autumn of our lives, mindfulness is the only thing that remains.
As one dying friend quipped: her life is now only "Bed, Bath, and soon to be Beyond."
Her advice: Be present.