The Santa Ana winds are here. They blow dry and warm through this belated Southern California autumn, whipping fall leaves, in all their colored glory, into a frenzy of a last stand before dropping to blanket the earth in their next step toward renewal. It was a beautiful show. As I watched their final and beautiful performance, it occurred to me that we don’t “do” dying well in our society. Instead of seeing the profound accumulation of wisdom gained from a life well-lived, we focus on what is fresh and new and “next.” Rather than embrace their well-earned wrinkled faces, their hands which have toiled to build the foundation on which we thrive, we hide our wizened elders away in “Sunrise” Senior Living Centers (if we’re lucky enough to have the finances to send them there). And yet, to my thinking, as incredible as the spring growth may be, it compares not at all to the stunning beauty of the changing leaves, a natural state of their pending demise. When we accept that dying is an outgrowth of living, the accumulation of knowledge and experience and passion, when we acknowledge how much there is to learn from the final “hurrah” of our elders, we ourselves will be wiser for it.