The sun was setting behind the protective western mountains of Raton, New Mexico, on Sunday, October 12, 1947. It was autumn and the crisp evening air stirred the bright yellow and gold leaves as they drifted from the massive aspen and elm trees that stood on the sprawling lawn surrounding Miners Hospital.
I was born on that autumn day. My grandfather, a practicing physician, particularly was overjoyed with his granddaughter's arrival, recalling the precious days when his daughter was a child. My mother was thankful her prayers for a little girl had been answered. Her own mother was gone, but now she had a daughter.
I grew up near the hospital, laughing and playing with my older brother and neighborhood friends. We often played in the huge stacks of autumn leaves that were raked into piles. I was fascinated with the brittle, warm-colored leaves as I waded waistdeep into them.
I married in the spring of 1967 and felt my life new, blossoming, and full. I gave birth to a son and a daughter, who became one purpose for my being. I felt the greatest blessing had been given to me in these two lives, and I had a deeper understanding of the unconditional love I received from my parents and God.
We lived and worked together with my parents on our family cattle ranch. The land was spacious and peaceful, and my appreciation of natural surroundings deepened. I recall those days as the growing, green days of summer. The rain nourished the land and with the hot sun turned the season's fruit ripe, fully alive and in its prime. Along with my family, this land was my purpose.
My parents have left this earth, yet their love, guiding spirit, and wisdom are alive in me. Their seasons are over, but their lives continue through their offspring.
In the summer of 1990, I graduated from a nearby junior college; I am currently a licensed practical nurse at Miners Hospital, the place of my origin. I serve the older generation of miners who reside in this long-term care facility.
As I work with those who are experiencing thenwinter season, I value their memories and respect and admire their priorities. They teach me that I must adjust as gracefully as the seasons to change. I see the beauty in their season and feel the fear of change subside. I hope that in knowing me in my autumn years, this older generation feels warmed and can look back on their own precious days of mature fulfillment and be reminded of the continuation of life's blessings.
It is now my fall, and I hear a voice whisper, 'Tour time here will come to an end." In the autumn of my life, it is time for me to glow; it is time for me to give my best. As a licensed practical nurse, I can give all the warmth, compassion, gentleness, and unconditional love I have to give.