We just visited old friends in Scotland. We’ve known Frank since 1974. He is 79 now and has had a stroke. He and his wife Frances are both psychologists like Jim and I. We have walked and talked together through half a century. 

One afternoon Frances and I walked along the Firth of Forth below the Ochils Hills. Clouds and light patterned the green pastures filled with white sheep, the bronze barley fields, and the ochre mud flats of the tidal river. The light reminded me of the paintings of old masters. It was European light, not at all like the flat white summer light of Nebraska.

As we watched the light on the water, I said to Frances, “Who needs diamonds when we can have all this sparkle for free?”

We turned and walked along an ancient rock fence. Rosehips, hawthorn berries, and blackberries ripening in the brambles gave the green and blue landscape some red accents. Who can devise a better color scheme than Mother Nature?

The wind began to stir in the hawthorn and hickory branches. The temperature fell as the sun dropped below the horizon. Tomorrow we were going home. In spite of all the glitter and splendor of the day, I could detect a hint of autumn in the air.