On my walks this week I’ve noticed that some of the trees seem to be raining leaves. Those beautiful yellow, gold, and red colors we enjoyed just a week ago are now just piles of dried leaves covering our lawns. Those trees that looked so majestic now are covered with bare branches through which we can see the bright blue October sky. Still beautiful, but in a different way.
I thought of how those leaves started out as little buds, so small and so welcome in the early days of spring. Then they grew to fill those trees and provide shade for us and shelter for birds and other creatures, taking in carbon dioxide and giving us oxygen. Then they put on their most spectacular show of all turning to gorgeous colors in the fall, stopping us in our tracks.
When it was time to give up those leaves, the trees just seemed to effortlessly “shed” them. With the God-given wisdom of nature, they didn’t try to hang on and keep their leaves. It’s time for rest and renewal for those trees, and a new season of growth, beauty, and productivity will come in the spring. It’s necessary for the health of the tree that it goes through these cycles. A tree that tried to hang onto old, dead leaves wouldn’t have room for new ones. Also if they kept their leaves and the snow accumulated on them, it could end up breaking the branches.
While this can seem depressing, if we tap into the wisdom and energy of life cycles, we will be healthier and wiser. Sometimes we have to let go of old beliefs, attitudes, and ideas, go through a time of rest and renewal, and be prepared for fresh new life to take the place of things that don’t serve us anymore. There are certain core values and beliefs that never change, but maybe the way we perceive them and incorporate them into our lives will change.
We so often get “stuck” in a certain way of thinking or of looking at life and other people. It’s hard for us to let go of the way we’ve always seen things or done things. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we speak or act or think in certain ways because our lives are on automatic pilot and we don’t question anything. For example, I always get up very early in the morning and, for the past few years, I either write in a journal or immediately start reading a book. Recently I decided to just sit in the dark and let God speak to me. I also try to stretch my thinking a little about what I think is possible in my life and in the world. I try to break through old boundaries that I unconsciously set. Who said things have to always be a certain way? Who said this is not possible? These are questions I ask, and it has really helped me to see that in many ways, we make our own boundaries based on past conditioning and our view of the world.
I’m going to look at those bare trees in a different way from now on. They’re not dead, they’re going through a necessary, natural period of dormancy. It’s okay to stop producing sometimes, examine our lives, let go of some things to make room for something new, and just rest and trust . New energy and new life comes out of times like these. And, yes, eventually each one of those trees will die, just like each one of us, but we’ve been given this life for a reason, and that reason is constantly changing and evolving. We can learn from the past, we can be thankful for it, but we must never get stuck in it.