I walked along the greenway with my dog, both of us banished from the house in the middle of the afternoon so strangers could walk through and decide if this would become their new home. I tried to make myself at home with my thoughts, as we crunched leaves underfoot, the dog and I.
I picked up one of the biggest leaves I’ve seen this season—a perfect fall blend of red, yellow and green—and looked up to find the towering tree that shed it. Through the canopy of smaller trees, I spied it, the old giant. I decided to take its leaf home and see if, along the way, I could find its tiniest counterparts. It became a game, and my dog relished the extra stops (more nose-to-the-ground time).
I’ve finally found the tree that sheds a different sort of huge leaf into my yard every year. It eluded me all these years, shedding its leaves before the shorter, smaller trees shed theirs and therefore making it impossible for me to know which tree dropped the large, brown leaves. The tree lives in a neighbor’s yard and freely shares its leaves with us all.
Frost said, “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” and this tree is one of those somethings, caring not one whit for fences or boundary lines or yards that have been freshly raked.
You may not think of trees shedding their leaves this time of year as flourishing trees, but that’s exactly what they are. They’ve learned that to survive the cold and dark of winter, they cannot fight nature. So they shed what they don’t need for a season.
One by one, with a gentle letting go, they drop away burdens they no longer need to hold, should no longer cling to if they want to flourish in the year ahead.
Ah, to be as wise as these trees—beautiful and trusting—as they let go of what is no longer their own. As they prepare for winter, they are also preparing for the coming spring.
Dear God: Please help me be more like these flourishing trees in their season of change. Amen.
I fling up this prayer in hopes of laying down some worries and fears of the season ahead for me … so that after the winter, I will be flourishing, too.
Is there something you’re holding on to that you could let slip gently away? A concern or burden that is no longer yours to carry? Will you let these things drop away from you like so many fall leaves?
Drop me a line in the comments below to let me know if you’re able to let go of any worries troubling you. And drop by next week, when I hope to share an exciting announcement about a different sort of flourishing tree.