I’ve recently seen several people post this quote on Facebook with a lovely fall background: “Fall shows us how beautiful it is to let go.” Or something like that. There’s a lot of letting go in our yard right now.
This fall seems to be particularly beautiful. It’s early November and the most of the trees are still brightly colored, full of leaves. Thanks to the rainy summer, especially in August, we have vibrant colors lining our streets, colors that are lasting a bit longer than I remember from years past.
What we admire and take pictures of, what we drive miles to see and linger in? Death. Now, we don’t call it that. We talk about the beauty and the crisp air. We talk about the smell of fall and bonfire weather. All of this, however, leads to one truth we tend to avoid: death.
These aren’t trees budding with new life. These aren’t trees full of leaves in every shade of green. These are trees – some still full, others not as much – with signs of death all around. The birds and squirrels bounce from place to place searching for winter rations. The plants stop reaching for the sun and start turning brown. The trees no longer fill up with nutrients, but instead shed parts of themselves that aren’t needed for the next season, the next phase of life.
This letting go isn’t a choice. It’s a fact, it’s a given. This is just how nature works. Some may hang on longer than others, but eventually all the leaves will drop. There are times when we have to let go too – even when that letting go isn’t our choice. It’s not beautiful. It’s not “Instagram post worthy.” It doesn’t come with a pithy quote or a “go-to autumn” stockphoto.
Sure, fall may teach us many things. And, there are times when those lessons are beautiful and awe-inspiring. There are times when letting go is as simple as a leaf floating “American Beauty style” down to the ground. However, there are other times when letting go reminds me of a leaf that one second is part of something larger, something familiar and then out of nowhere is alone, floating endlessly through completely unknown territory.
Soon though, the leaf lands, not alone, but among hundreds and thousands of other leaves who also had no choice, who were also blown about by the wind. Other leaves who were confused and afraid and angry about this sudden change. And somehow, these leaves ended up together in the same place at the same time.
Eventually I’ll land too. I’ll end up in a pile of leaves that just gets it.