Is it too late? The truth is : we don't know when it will freeze, snow or how much more blooming will happen before cold occurs. All we know is that the mums and asters need water and that they still have buds-just like the roses-and they are not afraid of lower temperatures. I move through my day, hoping this is not the last, refilling the birth bath and removing the faded flowers, the dead heads, the make room for the new buds as they unfold. My feet are saying good-by to summer as I crunch through the leaves piled on the sidewalks and take note of my neighbors decisions to drain their fountains for the new season. I watch as they bag their leaves and plant next Spring's tulips. Like my friends, I add new bulbs, a ritual for me that turns my attention more firmly to the future. I imagine myself on the other side of our Minnesota winter. Yet I look forward to the magical landscape of ice and snow. I savor my plans to eat roasted root vegetables and buttery squashes, the fragrance of harvest filling my cozy kitchen. I plan to take longer, leisurely lunches with lovingly prepared food and a glass of crisp chardonnay, as if I were my own private chef preparing a meal for my beloved child. Dreaming menus, shopping in my imagination, relaxed and at ease in my own body. After years of restricting my food consumption to maintain performance weight, I am so grateful to be at peace with food. No more weird diets, senseless self-denial and tasteless empty calories. Gratitude and joy are my guidelines at the table.