It’s a beautiful Sunday morning with an extra hour of sleep time. I’ve been sitting at my computer writing for the past hour, occasionally stopping just to gaze at the beautiful sight outside our sun room windows. Golden maples ablaze with autumn color, the sun shining through them to create the kind of scene a photographer would die for. For a few days more this scene will greet me in the morning, and then I’ll suddenly realize that the leaves are all gone.These trees are always the last in the neighborhood to shed their color and embrace the winter nudity that cries out for spring to hurry up and get here.
What is fascinating this morning is that there is no wind … not even a discernible breeze. As I scan the top of the trees, which are probably more than a hundred feet high, there isn’t even a ripple. But, despite that, the golden leaves are falling. One by one, in no obvious pattern, they just float away and settle into the Kodadacolor pile which covers the base of the tree. There does not appear to be any action which inspires the leaves to fall. They just let go and drop.
I suppose I could get scientific and describe the physical action which is taking place at the base of the stem of the leaf which allows/forces it to separate from the branch. But this morning I prefer to live in the world of metaphor instead of the world of botanical science.
The falling leaves are a metaphor, expressing the act of letting go in a far more dramatic way than any words can describe. It is time. Whatever needed to happen to permit the separation from the branch has happened. It is not a victory; nor is it a failure. It’s just the right time.
There’s a twinge of fatalism in that statement, but I don’t mean it to be so dark. It’s really a beautiful scenario which is anticipated. The only thing we don’t know in advance is exactly when it will occur. Obviously, if there is going to be a lot of harsh wind in the forecast, we can assume fairly safely that a lot of leaves will fall. But, apart from that, it is just an independent action, and it doesn’t deserve a negative emotional response.
I suppose this metaphor is most easily applied to life and death. As I read over my words, I’ve clearly led in that direction. But there is another application for the metaphor. Letting go can be the act which releases concerns, anxieties, and troubles which keep someone from moving forward in their life. As we have seen in the freak snowstorm of last week (an October blizzard?) there is a penalty to holding on to the leaves too long. If they are still there when the winter snows come, they become a hazard, bringing tragedy. That’s where the metaphor kicks in. There is a time to let go in order to fulfill the systemic plan which is in place. If you fight it and resist letting go the result can be a disaster.
And, of course, there is the whole matter of the promise. The leaves will return in that wonderful and exciting act of regeneration which takes place in just a few months. Is there anything more beautiful than the bursting of the buds into leaves and the promise of spring which it signals? The metaphoric patterns of nature are too good to ignore.
Whoops. There goes a gaggle of golden leaves. Just letting go and drifting to the ground, just as they are supposed to.
Photo Credit: layout