11.09.2010

LEAVES THAT FALL

... and the trees who loved them.

It's almost complete now. Trees are more than half bare and some nearly all gray with emptiness. They've become quieter, more solemn, dropping their final faded leaves. Unlike a few weeks ago when the dropping first began, and Indian summer still added an exotic sensuality to the Autumn stage. I've had a few wonderful Autumn walks lately. Scuffing along with a friend through golden leaves, craning our necks to see the afternoon sun setting the treetops on fire, a conflagration of orange and red flaming branches overhead.


Today, however, I can see snow-dusted hilltops. It's raining and windy, and there's a blanket of leaves from our maple and chestnut trees covering the empty patio. I put the furniture and chair pads away just in time.

So, I was thinking: How do the trees feel about losing their leaves? Certainly they must love them all and miss them terribly when they're gone. They are attached from the time the soft, tiny leaf buds push away from shiny branches. Swaying leaves growing in masses to dress out the barest groves in green splendor. You know how the tiny leaf buds are that brilliant chartreuse when they first say hello. It always makes me gasp and gape. Well, imagine how the tree feels.

All this amazing adornment. Outrageous ornament. The trees are thinking "Oh, I am looking so good - how this becomes me!" The trees are ardently attached to their leaves. I have no doubt.


Then, THEN, they begin to die. Not without fanfare and colorful expression, but they do begin to die, nevertheless. What can the tree be going through? They don't act all clingy and neurotic and confused as far as I can tell.

We all sometimes get a little crazed and anxious and weepy when we lose something we're attached to. Or something or someone we love. Change can leave us confused and unmoored. We want to control and hang on to what we're attached to. Hang on, cling on, neurotically. It's hard to let go.

The Autumn landscape carries the wisdom of letting go, and for me, it's especially evident with the trees. Persephone, the goddess who represents and loves the beauty of life, returns to the underworld each Autumn. She hears her name called, feels the slumber of death overcoming her. In the underworld she will learn the mysteries of darkness, death, letting go. Until she returns, the earth is silent and still.

With her gone, the trees let go, too. And they're fine with it. That's what I love about all this. They are so fine with it. They know she'll be back in another time, in other forms. The beauty of life is never extinguished.


The earth has begun to die back. I think I'm going to be ok with it.