The fall leaves are beginning their descent. Their colors have brought me such joy this fall. As they make their way to the forest floor, crunching beneath my feet, there is sadness and expectation. Sadly, their glorious fall colors are short-lived (although doesn’t that make their beauty all the more poignant?). Yet this rhythm is necessary for rebirth again in the spring.
Regeneration. What a beautiful hope. We see these glimpses in nature, yet don’t even know how to comprehend it for the future. How wonderful! For these losses of life—and we all have them—they sting, do they not?
How do you live a life
you never expected,
and accept the emptiness
of dreams that are lost?
You learn the trees,
make friends with the leaves,
and find the joy
in their splendor.
The colors can fill you,
touch the depths of your soul,
giving life to the places
Thank God for his Creation. To teach and fill with delight.
In truth, grief and trial has changed my heart in beautiful ways—that’s the incredible mystery of God. I am grateful that I care less for things and more for leaves. I’m grateful that I’ve had bountiful time with my mother for her to teach me botanical identification. Sometimes I mourn aspects of my life, boxed up, yet—I have the leaves. And the time to appreciate and photograph their beauty. (Enjoy the portraits below, and MORE here in this fall leaves photo collection.)
One of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, has a little poem called “Storage” where she reflects on moving her possessions from storage unit to storage unit, and finally she called a trash man to haul it away. She then rejoices:
“I felt like the little donkey when
his burden is finally lifted. Things!
Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful
fire! More room in your heart for love,
for the trees! For the birds who own
nothing—the reason they can fly.”
Slow down and enjoy the beauty before it’s gone. Let it touch the places in your heart that need nurturing. Make room in your heart for love, for the trees.
1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103: 1-6