For my mom.
I’m sitting at the kitchen table. I look outside. Everything is colorful.
There’s this tree outside the window that I’ve been watching all week. It’s been changing from green to deep red slowly over the last 4 days. I’ve been watching the red from the top layer slowly trickle down into the rest of its branches. And this is all I can think…
I wonder if the tree likes to change? Was it prepared to endure this change? Do you think it enjoys watching its leaves slowly die? Does it know it’s still a tree? Because you are. You may be losing your leaves, but you are still a tree.
You might say you’re losing a part of yourself. But no – you’re still there. You might even feel like you’re losing yourself entirely, but you are not lost. I see you. I saw you with your stunning green, and I see you now. There’s less pigment, but there’s more gentleness. You are more subdued, but somehow more surprising. It must be hard adapting to your red, fragile leaves. They feel different… YOU feel different. You are learning what it means to let go.
More leaves will fall, and soon your branches will be bare. You may look different from the rest, but you’ve been there all along. You’ve been beautiful all along.
I notice something – as your leaves slowly fall, we can see more clearly the mountains in the distance. Through your bare branches, more beauty is revealed – as if it was hidden all this time, and you have been waiting to unveil it. I am learning not to grieve your fallen leaves, but to accept what is revealed – the beauty I wasn’t expecting to encounter.
Sometimes Fall comes too soon. I want to hang onto the green leaves. I want to cling to the bright potency of summertime. It’s difficult to admit that the leaves must fall. But I keep watching and waiting. Allowing the softness of what is lost to give way to a new kind of beauty.
And there you will stand, gentle and resilient. Leaves or no leaves. Constantly changing, but always a tree. I remind you of your beauty. You remind me to let the softness in.