by now you probably know that i like to collect leaves on a regular basis. i really do love them that much. you might think it’s because of their perfect golden and amber colors or the crunch they make when you step on them on a cold day. but mostly, i like leaves because they are a lot like people. i’m not a leaf expert, trust me. but did you know they are designed to maximize their exposure to light? and they are carefully arranged on a plant so as to not shade one another from the sun, to make sure they all grow. kind. that’s what those leaves are. and these vibrant oranges and sunshine yellows have evolved to adjust as necessary to obtain what they need. you see, they do their best to do their best. and from what i know, leaves are a product of their environment; their design and structure is dependent on the climate they came from and the external factors they were exposed to– like available nutrients and posed threats.
don’t you see? humans are the same.
i believe we are designed to search for the good. and i believe we all thrive when we have enough exposure to light–whatever it is that your light may be. and much like leaves, when people are being their best selves, we allow room for one another to flourish. and we help each other get there. we are products of our experiences, environments, and challenges. and i believe whole-heartedly that we each, individually, are doing our best, despite our present circumstances. we too are weathered. and that’s what make fall, and all seasons of our lives so beautiful.
and did you know that leaves don’t actually fall? they are let go of by the tree; by gracefully drifting to the ground they help the tree survive. and as they lay there decorating the earth’s ground, they contribute their remaining nutrients to the soil. every bit of their ‘life’ characterized by beauty, grace, and selflessness.
the leaves fall, land, and change for a reason.
we do too.
and so if you can look down at the ground and find beauty in the leaves that have fallen from their tree, can you do the same for people?
when you see someone going through a difficult time or living their life in a way that is incomparable to yours, can you challenge yourself to place them in a different light? before you make that harsh judgement, can you look them in the face and find their beauty? can you appreciate their uniqueness? can you remember how beautiful they once were and still are? can you remember, that like leaves, seasons change for people too? and can you adjust your life accordingly so that they too can have some exposure to light?
leaves have taught me that just because someone may not be high up on a tree, radiating their best autumn color, does not mean they are not adding brightness and value to the world.
and at the end of your life, i’ll wonder how gently you walked the earth.
did you plant something that will grow? a seed of kindness? a smile on your face to light up someone else’s? a vegetable garden? a whisper of hope?
and did you grow your roots? did you invest in something that will outnumber all of your days? did you form loving bonds with your family members that cannot be undone?
and did you sit in silence on a cool, fall day and marvel at the wonder of the world? did you appreciate it’s beauty? did you offer it thanks?
did you take a deep breath in, close your eyes, and tilt your head up to the sky?
and did you allow yourself to see how perfect it all is?