In the Fall of the year we are in awe of the magnificent beauty and splendor of the coloring of the foliage. But all to soon the leaves begin to fall and vacate their home on the branches and blanket the forest floor with the remnants of what was. Before winter arrives the trees that were once decorated with green and colorful grandeur now stand before us naked and barren, void of its former magnificence.
However, it is only when the trees have lost their leaves that we see what undergirds the beautiful display. When the leaves are gone, we can see the roundness and sturdiness of the trunk. We can actually see the hundreds of branches that extend from the stable base to support the leaves. We can observe the structure that houses both insects and animals. It is when the leaves have fallen that we see the frame and true form.
Like trees we receive the most compliments and praise when we are fully adorned. Whether it be a soldier decorated with combat medals, a student with their diplomas showcasing degrees, a singer with their Grammy and music awards, stage actor with a Tony, or an Olympian with their gold, silver or bronze medals we feel our best and are celebrated most when we have “our leaves” on. But, just like the trees we will lose our leaves.
Losing your leaves can happen in an instance; like when a soldier takes off their uniform and dresses in civilian clothes becoming like everyone else, no longer recognized as one who has sacrificed so much for their country and fellow man. Or it can happen as we journey through life. Like when a teacher retires and no longer has command of a classroom and the attention of 24 minds waiting and anticipating the words that are coming out their mouth. We can lose our leaves when our children grow and live life on their own no longer requiring our daily advice and tutelage.
We should not be discouraged by the loss of our leaves in the dawning of a winter season; rather, we should embrace the uncovering of our strength revealing the ability to overcome and stand strong during the longest nights and coldest of times. This is the time that we flex our branches and show that we have survived the scorching heat of the summer, the changing temperatures of fall, sometimes up and other times down, but we stood strong. We stood tall during the departure of those who inhabited our space and called it home only to withdrawal and leave for somewhere better suited as this was “just a season”. Be proud that when what once covered you begins to decay that you remain solid with the ability to deal with the deficiency of light until it returns, because it will return.
As long as the earth remains the cycles of seasons will continue. There will be times when we lose our leaves, but as surely as they fall, they will come again. In the Spring new buds will form and produce something innovative and fresh on our old frame making us thrive again. With out the trunk and the branches there is no foundation; therefore, we must never misjudge the value of the things that have stood the test of time.
The answer may be “Yes” to the question of “have you lost your leaves”, if so, stand up as tall and straight and proud as possible. Continue to breathe out wisdom and knowledge gained. You are valuable, needed and necessary with leaves and without! Your place in the world provides life and prevents erosion. Continue to clear the air for generations to come!