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The Anxious Leaf

By: Cara Barth

“No man can taste the fruits of Autumn while he is delighting his scent with the flowers of Spring.”  ~ Samuel Johnson

The month of October marks the peak of the Fall season. With all the trees changing into bright colors of oranges, yellows and reds, it is hard to believe that a deep sleep is coming. Very soon those magnificent, brilliant colored leaves will be letting go and return to the ground from which they came.

I find this fascinating. I find it comforting that the world we are so blessed to live within has a pattern of life and death. We are watching the miracles of birth to end pass before our very eyes each day out of our windows. We can be a part of the wonderment of life, acknowledge the gifts along the way and accompany/embrace the process of passing with a sense of how small yet important we all are.

My belief is that there is a potential to learn from the passing seasons:

  • Spring = Birth/Being Young (Wonderment) 
  • Summer = Young Adult/Adult  (Purpose)
  • Fall = Older Adult/Elderly (Wisdom)
  • Winter = Elders/Death (Reconciliation)

Many folks I know do not take the time to breathe in this truth. They are so busy being in the Spring and Summer that they forget a Fall and Winter WILL come to us and the ones we love! I believe that each day is a gift. We have no guarantees, and if we do not help each other see that slowing down and living as if change is coming is a disservice. We need to enjoy the process and seasons of our lives and the lives of others, not fight them but embrace them!

As I have shared before, I love to read and have for as long as I remember. As I was thinking about what to share with you through my writing, I remembered a short story from years ago. This little story is so simple, yet speaks volumes into how we handle the changes in life that inevitably come. Enjoy!


The Anxious Leaf

Henry Ward Beecher’s: Norwood

Once upon a time a little leaf was heard to sigh and cry, as leaves often do when a gentle wind is about. And the twig said, “What is the matter, little leaf?” And the leaf said, “The winds just told me that one day it would pull me off from here and lay me down on the ground!” 

The twig told it to the branch on which it grew, and the branch told it to the tree. And when the tree heard it, it rustled all over, and sent back word to the leaf, “Do not be afraid. Hold on tightly, and you shall not go till you want to.” 

And so the leaf stopped sighing, but went on nestling and singing. Every time the tree shook itself and stirred up all its leaves, the branches shook themselves, and the little twig shook itself, and the little leaf danced up and down merrily, as if nothing could ever pull it off. And so it grew all summer long, till October.

And when the bright days of autumn came the little leaf saw all the leaves around becoming very beautiful. Some were yellow and some scarlet and some striped with both colors. Then it asked the tree what it meant. And the tree said, “All these leaves are getting ready to fly away, and they have put on these beautiful colors because of joy.”

Then the little leaf began to want to go, too, and grew very beautiful in thinking of it, and when it was very bright in color it saw that the branches of the tree had no bright color in them, and so the leaf said, “O branches! why are you grey-color and we golden?”

“We must keep on our work-clothes, for our life is not done – but your clothes are for holiday, because your tasks are over,” said the branches.

 Just then a little puff of wind came, and the leaf let go, without thinking of it, and the wind took it up and turned it over and over, and whirled it like a spark of fire in the air, and then it dropped gently down under the edge of the fence, among hundreds of leaves, where it fell into a dream, never to awake and tell what it had dreamed about.

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