Autumn is my favorite time of year, and I’ve been very thankful for all my travels to parts of the country that have more autumn than Dallas normally does. However, Texas has surprised me with more color than usual this season. It’s been so beautiful that I cast my to do list aside and went for a walk today. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that to plan a day of nothing is not quite as restful as having a day full of activity planned and then rebelliously chucking it aside to rest.
I’ve been focused and overwhelmed with support raising, meetings, travels, and working. Remember that rant on not resting? Stress has a way of bringing up my bad habits. It’s been a while since I was able to go for a walk and enjoy fresh air and some peace of mind. Walking is my contemplation time. Yet, my thoughts kept being interrupted by the leaves. It all started with this colossal, yellow maple leaf that was very out of place among birch, elm, dogwood, and cottonwood leaves. I had to pick it up.
And then I inadvertently began a massive leaf collection.
I wandered all over, in and out of streets and neighborhoods and parks, carrying a bouquet of yellow, reds, and oranges. I may have also acquired some sideways glances from the dog walker that I passed twice. I picked up dozens of leaves out of the gutter that were blown there by the wind and noisy leaf blowers. Poor leaves. I’m always amazed people would want to blow away all that color. I’d at least wait until they had all dried up all crinkling brown paper like. There were all kinds of shapes and textures; some were vivid yellow, deep crimson, and an ombre of yellow, orange, and red. I found a few magnolia leaves that were the a very delicate, tannish, yellow and some elm leaves that were almost pink! There were so many and the seemed to be begging to be picked up and taken home.
I have this memory from college that has made the deepest impression on my person. I was sitting in choir rehearsal looking out the windows at all the colorful autumn trees of Michigan. The wind was blowing and yellow leaves were dancing around. My first thought was, “Butterflies!” The image has stayed with me for years now and perhaps it’s the underlying thought that drew me to a yellow origami butterfly as my logo. Regardless, I’ve always thought that if butterflies camouflage themselves to look like leaves, it seems perfectly natural that leaves should “want” to be butterflies.
We all desire transformation, to be made new and beautiful. Autumn is all about the old passing away so that the new can come. I suppose it’s a bit sad to see the leaves falling. But it’s not the actual falling of the colors but the knowledge that this season is ending. People fear winters that linger longer than they think they can bear. In my own life, I feel a season ending; this season of selfish independence, of cultural comfort, of easy self expression. It’s a loss but I also know that it’s a season that has to end in order to move forward to new growth.