This week’s post is coming to you on Wednesday instead of Tuesday, because of some nasty fever-inducing, mucous-producing bug I picked up. I’m on the mend (yesterday was pretty miserable), but since I still feel like my head is full of cotton balls and my throat is made of sandpaper, I may not be quite as verbose as is my norm.
But I have to talk about fall, at least once more before it’s done. I just want to tell you about an experience I had last Thursday morning, as I was driving up the hill for a meeting with my boss.
The weekend before, I got to spend a lot of time outside. Autumn was in full color – the trees in their glorious abundance – and it was breathtaking. Not having grown up with Autumn, I always thought of it as a magical thing, and experiencing it has only enhanced that perception. The colors were truly unbelievable. I kept touching the leaves to make sure they were real. I was deeply immersed in the grandness of it – the rich celebration of the trees expressing themselves wildly in a full spectrum of color, almost sparkling under a gorgeous, warm, late-September sun.
And then came last Thursday. It was gray, and misty, and driving up the hill all those colors that had been bright and shining just days ago seemed somehow muted, and all of a sudden the leaves were falling, and where a riot of color had been before, bare branches were beginning to show. It struck me as a remarkably poignant moment – I was moved to tears by the beauty of it all…because in that moment of clarity, as if the trees themselves were shouting at me, I realized that the trees don’t hold on to the leaves. The moment of their full expression – that riot of color, that glory of abundance – is so brief. And then they let go. And it doesn’t diminish them in any way. The trees don’t lose any of their life-force by surrendering their leaves to the wind. Instead, that life-force pulls back inside the tree, and begins crafting the next cycle of abundance.
The lesson hit home. How often do I try to hold on to my own moments of glory, to make them last, to live in the feeling of being grand and bright and fully expressed? How often do I equate that with being fully alive? The truth is, I am just as alive in my quiet, internal moments as I am in my fully expressed moments. It’s a cycle. And the thing that blocks the flow of aliveness is not the letting go of being bright and shiny to turn within. It’s the trying to hold on, resisting the cycle of expansion and return.
And so I want to pour myself fully into abundant expression. And then I want to surrender that expression – willingly and joyfully – and turn within to grow the next cycle of expression. Over and over. And I want to remember that no one part of the cycle is more alive than any other.
I am so grateful to the trees for this lesson; this reminder – that the winter is no less alive than the summer, and that there’s beauty in all of it.