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.




17 thoughts on “Fall.

  1. So beautifully put Ashlee! I recently went to a funeral service where the son shared his most loving memory of his father who passed and it was when he came out admitting that he was gay and the father’s immediate response was “doesn’t make you any less of a son.” Or when a woman has to get a double mastectomy to be able to survive and continue living from breast cancer doesn’t make her any less of a woman. I love what your eyes see and what your brain and heart interprets into a beautiful rendition of looking at something in a different perspective. Love you Ash.

  2. Such beautiful thoughts. Such a sweet gift of love and understanding for your mom. You are such a lovely being.

    Sending lots of love your way!

  3. Ashlee – I have read your post at least a half a dozen times – and each time I am left breathless as the tears roll down. The beauty, honesty, wisdom, depth and complete truth blow me away. I print this out and hold it as I reflect on my own mom’s journey and others around me. I am on my knees for your precious mom, you and your family. You all are so loved.

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