According to the calendar it is autumn. My favorite time of year and, my favorite time of life. Here in Central Texas however, it is more like an endless encore of summer… most leaves clinging to the green of summer until too tired to go on, they simply dull and wither away. In climates where they actually have four seasons the autumn leaves are a riot of color… reds, oranges and golds that cloak trees in brilliant shrouds before flinging themselves into space for one final dance with death. People are like leaves… Some cling to their summer years… botoxing, dying, nipping and tucking themselves into a grotesque caricature of youth until they too wither away… always striving for what once was and thereby missing what could be. Others are autumn leaves… brilliant in their season… colored with the experience of time and embracing all that they have become… This is how I choose be… colorful, happy with who I am, understanding that my life choices have made me who and what I am. I have reached the age where I don’t care what our culture says about how to live, what to wear or what is important. I no longer feel like I need to try to “fit in” with anyone else… I can be as scarlet or as orange or as gold as I want to be… and it’s beautiful… This is the gift of autumn.